Each week when I go to the Mercado on Whittier Blvd, I gaze at the cake and pastry department - marvellous creations like Bristol Farms but half the price. My attention always fixes on the Carlotas, a sundae plastic glass full of jello, fruit, custard and whipped topping at $1.59 which beckons me the victim (and success) on the liquid diet.
The New York Times today has a wonderful article on Cino de Mayo with a French Accent and gives the history of the Pastry War (a patisserie was looted among others in the anarchy of post independence Mexico and France demanded 600,00 pesos in damages. When Mexico refused, out came the cannonballs. The author of the article talks of a food historian who says that upper class Mexicans continued to be raised on Mexicanized French food into the 20th Century and receipes for Carolotas, or Charlottes are still passed around - even making it to the shelves of the Mercado bakery. Ain't food wonderful?