Comida means “meal” or “foodstuff”, but “la comida” means the main meal of the day, which in Mexico City for example, used to be at exactly 2:00 pm. Schools, business hours, university lectures, and many other schedules, seemed to revolve around a 2 hour break until 4:00 pm, so families would gather and have time for “la comida” at home. I still remember when my dad would make the half-hour drive home from his job in the downtown area, eat his meal and go back for another 2 or 3 hours at work. Many people, however, worked just too far to go back home, and then companies switched to shorter work hours, but with only one hour break for “la comida.”
As a result, some ladies were adroit at applying their cooking and entrepreneurship skills and started hosting a few people in their own dining rooms, offering a homemade meal at reasonable prices; others improvised opening their garage doors and setting a couple of tables and a few chairs to serve quick meals for a fixed fare. Packing lunch became a common practice, too, but many people could not give up the traditional three-course meal of soup, rice or pasta, and a main dish with a side, plus a freshly prepared beverage. Small restaurants or stands catered to this need, offering three-course meals for a fixed price, changing the offerings for each day of the week. This is called a “comida corrida” which might be translated as “meal in a hurry” (or “fast food” hehe), or “food in a run” because the three courses of soup, rice or pasta and main dish are served one after the other, with no pause.
Some say that this practice started as early as the 1870s, when Mexico City experienced a stage of fast urban development and progress under long-term president (i.e., dictator) Porfirio Díaz, and continued with such great success, that by the 1960s, larger and well established restaurants jumped in like vultures at the opportunity by offering an “executive menu”, basically the same concept, only fancier and pricier. Nowadays, many Mexican restaurants and chains have a featured “Menú del día” (Today’s menu), such as the one pictured at the top of this post, from Panama restaurant, offering a veggie and chickpea soup (caldo Xochitl), shredded beef (deshebrado* de res; *that typo on the sign was annoying for sure), creamy pasta (pasta a la crema), beans with cheese (frijoles con queso) and a glass of natural papaya beverage (agua de papaya).
I thought of highlighting a few of my favourite recipes from the past years, as a celebration of my second blog anniversary (click on highlighted text below, for recipes), so here it is, my suggestions for:
Today’s Specials – Comida Corrida
Rice or Pasta
Main Course – Plato fuerte
What would you choose? A meal like this would cost between $5 and $8 USD, be served promptly, and with a warm wish from the server to “enjoy the meal”, or as it is always said in Mexico:
I am bringing my comida corrida menu to Fiesta Friday #316 with Angie @ Fiesta Friday, co-hosting this week with Jhuls @ The Not So Creative Cook. Thank you for featuring my Sweet or Spicy Tamarind Treats at this fiesta!