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The flu and diet

23 May 2009
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While hotels and other sectors of the tourism sector have also been hard-hit (including English language bookshops), with 2000 restaurants in Mexico going out of business as a result of the losses over the “sanitary contingency” period , there may be a long-term negative health consequence we won’t see for a while.

Most of the restaurants that are closing are cocinas economicas — mom-n-pops that the working poor (and lower middle class) and single people depend upon to get a decent, nutritious and healthy daily meal.

Your typical cocina economica isn’t a fancy place… there might, or might not be a posted daily menu with two or three entrees and sometimes two choices of soup,  but for making one’s selection, you depend on the aroma wafting from the stove in front of the shop… with the seating (such as it was) behind.  That, and whether the cook was jolly looking and well fed (or like whatever a mom who cooks might look like).

These were always marginal  businesses — at least as far as cash flow and financial resources go — but being affordable, they meant Mexican workers could meet their nutritional needs while simultaneously meeting the expectations of employers who have to go to the “semana ingles” work schedule, which assumes people eat their main meal in the evening — and not in the mid afternoon (some of the more barbaric companies try to make their Mexican workers eat at the uncivilized hour of noon).

Some of these businesses are holding on by converting themselves into snack bars or selling a limited menu (like sandwiches), which may make economic sense, but over the long run means the working poor  in Mexico (who — thanks to the pressure to conform to what the rest of the world thinks are “normal” working hours — can’t go home for the healthy, mid-day main meal) who ate at these places will be eating more like the working poor in the United States… not a decent meal, but junk food.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 23 May 2009 2:25 pm

    Not sure why, but I get sick eating street food here in Mexico City far more often than I did while living in Guadalajara. It’s amusing to see the generous amounts of hand sanitizers still being dispensed. How long will that last?

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