Can You Be Latino And Not Like Chile?

How Latino you are based on what hot peppers you eatSo my mother questions the fact that her food is way to spicy for my taste buds. She gives me the side eye while she proceeds to bite into a jalapeno, because I guess her food isn’t spicy enough. Growing up in a Mexican household where your mother would make chile from scratch and would make everyone in the house cough and gag when it went into the blender. I get the aren’t you Mexican? And tapatio is not chile. So I guess because I don’t eat chile with everything it makes me less Mexican. I wish I could just sit there and enjoy a roasted jalapeno with my food like her, but maybe it has a lot to do with my sensitive taste buds.

I grew up eating pizza,hamburgers,hot dogs the spiciest thing I ate was saladitos. And now it seems you can’t even go to the store and buy chips or lollipop even the ice cream has chile. It seems like chile is the “in” thing the classic Cheetos turned into hot Cheetos and even lays and Doritos have Tapatio chips. And the funny thing is my kids can eat a full bag of hot Cheetos like nothing and I eat one and I’m already drinking water because “ya me enchile” and the side effects aren’t cute my nose starts dripping my eyes get watery and for some reason my mouth opens as if to gets some air to soothe the burning. My kid’s look at me and laugh and say mom they’re not even spicy! And then I start to question are my kids more Latino than me, did the eating chile gene skip a generation?

It’s not like I don’t try to eat chile every time I buy tacos and look at all the different salsas and decide to try one, I always have the same result I end up not eating the taco because yet again my sensitive tongue denies me the pleasure of enjoying some chile. Well I guess I will continue to eat tacos, lollipops, chips and my mothers food without the chili. I will keep getting bullied and harassed by my mother for not being able to eat chili, and the occasional “hay si muy Americana no como chile” comments.

I wonder if this happens in other cultures? Am I the only Latino that cant tolerate chile? Will I ever eat a chile a mordidas and make my mother happy to the point where she will do her famous Mexican grito (ayyaya). But at the end of the day, I don’t understand how not eating a certain food takes away a part of your culture and makes you “Not Latino Enough”!!! So I say I’m a proud Mexican American who doesn’t eat chile not because I’m less Latino its just that Prilosec is way too expensive.

Written by Sara Olguin, follow her on twitter @919sara