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Menudo contest goes on even when rain halts Goliad Diez y Seis de Septiembre festivities

By JR Ortega
Sept. 18, 2010 at 4:18 a.m.

Nathan Hernandez, 11, enjoys a cup of menudo at the Second annual Menudo Cook-Off in Goliad on Saturday. He said his favorite part of menudo is the broth and meats. Rain postponed the actual festival but the cook-off still went forward.

GOLIAD - Nothing can rain on Janie and Angel Hernandez's parade.

Rain postponed the Diez y Seis de Septiembre festival Saturday at the Goliad County Fairgrounds, but avid menudo lovers, like the Hernandezes, insisted the second annual Menudo Cook-Off go on.

"Rain or shine, we're still going to make our menudo," Janie Hernandez said.

Menudo is a traditional Mexican-style dish that consists of tripe, broth and several other ingredients.

The choice of those ingredients - well, that's what makes each dish so special.

The Berclair couple's speciality is so special that last year they won a cash prize and trophy for the best menudo.

"We set an example," Janie said, smiling.

Their creation is quite simple, her husband said.

He mixes chili powder, hominy, tripe, salt and pepper and ham hock.

"The secret is in the cutting," Angel Hernandez said as he lifted the tin to let steam escape from the boiling pot of tripe.

This year's cook-off was supposed to have 20 cook-off teams, music, games, and arts and crafts booths, said Sherry Garcia, event coordinator with the General Zaragoza Society.

However, only six teams showed up because of weather conditions, she said.

Saturday's festival, a golf tournament and Cinco de Mayo celebration are all coordinated by the society, which uses some of the proceeds from each of the events toward a scholarship fund.

A new date for the Diez y Seis de Septiembre festival has not been set yet, she said.

For festival entertainment chair Hernan Jaso, you love menudo or hate it.

Of course he loves it, he said.

"You can't have a fiesta without menudo," Jaso said. "It's like baseball without popcorn and peanuts."

Sylvia Valdez, the county Justice of the Peace for Precinct 1, was one of the judge's this year.

Valdez has always enjoyed her father's menudo, but on Saturday she was judging on two key points: texture and taste.

"It's a part of Hispanic heritage," Valdez said. "We grew up with it."

At the end of the day, the menudo cook-off isn't about winning or losing, it's about family, Janie Hernandez said.

"What menudo does for us is it brings us all together," she said. "We just make a big ol' pot, and we all enjoy it at the same time."



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