Pan Dulce, Delicious History, Delicious Culture
‘Quiteme los calzones, y póngame una revolcada.’
Literally translated, it’s ‘take off my underwear and give me a beating.’ Obviously, some things get lost in translation. In reality, what they are talking about is not receiving some form of beating, but of a phrase often heard in Mexican pastry shops during the 19th and 20th centuries in reference to the breads sold there. Many of the recipes of Mexican pastry can be traced as far back as the time of the Spaniards and Hernan Cortes. The names of breads became a product of populist ingenuity.
They are funny names, bizarre names, and some that just might make you blush. There’s the quintessential concha, which yes, do resemble a seashell, but what about piojosas? They are a type of concha that instead of sugar on top, have sesame seeds that, I suppose, can resemble lice. And like that there are many others that you can’t help but wonder where the names came from: calzones, revolcadas, chilindrinas, piedras, ojos de buey, engranes, chinos, hebillas, ladrillos, chorreadas, tornillos, cuernitos, canastas, orejas, besos, marranitos, calvos, and many, many more.
Unfortunately, we are losing a lot of these items of Mexican pastry due to loss of traditional Mexican gastronomy as well as the industrialization and mass production of breads and pastry. Bakeries also play a part in this loss, as it is not uncommon for a bakery to further limit its menu to offerings it deems more popular or profitable.
When we decided to get into the bakery business, little did I expect that it would be to specialize in pan dulce. However, as the years pass and as I learn more, I have learned to further appreciate and embrace such an important part of my history. It is our hope to share our knowledge as well as offer as much as we can of this bread that is rich in history, culture, and tradition. It will most certainly be a delicious journey!