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Just desserts

9 March 2015

Today is the 176th anniversary of the end of the Pastry War, the world’s most expensive pie fight.

phoDuring the coup of 1828, cadets from the military academy (i.e., teenaged boys.. armed teenaged boys) took over a pastry shop and helped themselves to the goodies.  The shop owner, a Frenchman, calculated the damages at 600,000 pesos (which, I once calculated as 18.5 million cream-filled doughnuts at today’s prices… the boys must have been extremely hungry).

Mexico looked at the bill, and said… “yeah, right”.  France said, “it’s not the money, it’s the principle of the thing”, and Mexico said… “no, it’s the money”, sending back stiffly worded notes and lobbing verbal pies at each other… until…

… in 1836, those illegal aliens in Tejas rebelled, setting up a breakaway republic, with no real foreign support, except the United States… and France (that had been looking for a way back into North America ever since Napoleon sold off the chunk they’d just dumped on Spain then took back to sell off).  The hapless Texas Republic wasn’t exactly a thriving commercial center, so the French though… “OK, if you won’t pay us cash, how about we just take Veracruz”.  Which they tried to do, occupying San Juan de Ulúa castle in the harbor.

General Santa Ana, fresh from losing Texas, came to the rescue.  Per his usual strategy, he intended to just keep the French bottled up in the hot zone, and let yellow fever do its work for him.  The French resorted to a Special Forces operation, which did not go all that well, the French delta team breaking into Santa Ana’s headquarters in the middle of the night, and the General just saying “he went thataway!” while he went “thisaway”.

Things got serious at that point, with the French bombarding the port, and the Mexicans retaliating.  The French lost a royal prince, Santa Ana lost his left leg and a couple of fingers.

At this point, the  British — who wanted the port opened (so they could buy good Mexican pastries, among other things) — started putting pressure on the French, and the Mexicans, sick of the whole thing just said “the Hell with it”, and paid the exorbitant bill.

And, the French — having upheld the honor of pastries — sailed off into the sunset.  The only winners were the Chinese, who traditionally run Mexican pastry shops.



One Comment leave one →
  1. 9 March 2015 2:59 pm

    I love the way you think!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

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