Food sustains our bodies, evokes emotion, marks ritual and ceremony, shows relational connection, and defines culture. The gathering, cooking, and eating of food is unique between different ethnicities and distinctive to places, including a community like Globe-Miami. We have our own local food history and culture which is one of the many things I love about this place.
Let’s start with one of our bigger food claims-to-fame: Globe-Miami is the self-declared “Mexican Food Capital of Arizona.” While some border communities may want to challenge this assertion, the truth of the matter is actually much greater: Globe-Miami is in fact the Mexican Food Capital of the United States. Let me explain…
When looking at the per capita rate of Mexican food restaurants per 10,000 residents, Datafiniti Catalog of Business Data states that Humble, TX has the highest rate in the nation with 7.3 restaurants and Littleton, CO is second with 4.8. They probably did not look at our area because we didn’t meet the screening criteria of having at least 10,000 residents. If we extrapolate our current Mexican restaurants by our town populations, Globe has a rate of 16.3 and Miami has 16.9. If we combine our two communities using the 2018 population data, we have a combined population of 9,120 people. Without extrapolating because we’re now close to 10,000 people, we have 15 restaurants between our two communities.
Even with a handicap of 880 fewer people, we’re more than double what is recognized as the highest per capita Mexican food restaurant rate in the nation!
Without a doubt, we are the campeonas (champions).
I already loved Mexican food when I moved to this area, but had to learn new things here like “burros” are what the rest of the country calls “burritos,” everyone gets their own salsa dish in Globe-Miami, and you will wait all week if you are expecting your bill to be brought to your table. I love that locals know our Mexican restaurants so well that most of us have different favorite places depending on what we’re craving: tacos, burritos, fajitas, taquitos, enchiladas, or flour tortilla chips (does anyone else miss Libby’s chips that were fried, then doused with melted butter before arriving at the table?). Globe-Miami residents are spoiled to Mexican food in other U.S. communities because ours is so good.
But, Globe-Miami is more than just Mexican food. Did you know that cheese boats originated here? I had never heard of cheese boats before moving to this area and absolutely love them! These delicious treats are made by hollowing out small hard bread rolls, then filling them with a mixture of shredded longhorn cheddar cheese, El Pato sauce, olives, green onions, chopped green chilis, pimentos, and chunks of the bread that was removed before replacing the bread “lid” that was cut off and baking the entire thing until melty. Local sports teams, service groups, and churches will have cheese boat sales as fundraisers and they freeze well, so stock up when you have a chance.
Another local favorite and unique hallmark of mining communities is our proud history and love of pasties. A Cornish pasty (rhymes with “nasty”, not “tasty”) is a handheld meat and vegetable pie that looks like a D-shaped turnover with a golden crust. A descendant of the medieval meat pies, pasties were developed for men working deep within the English tin mines. These semi-circular pies with a ropelike crust both fed and protected the tin miners as their hands were frequently coated with arsenic dust and the crust could be thrown away after the pie was eaten. Some pasties were two-parters with the larger half consisting of meat and vegetables while the smaller half had a sweet fruit filling. Local restaurants sometimes feature pasties, the Old Dominion Days hosted a pasty dinner, and they are frequently sold as fundraisers, so keep your eye on local news to grab a few when available.
Food holds memory, evokes joy, and shapes identity. Even halfway around the world, the right type of burro, pasty or cheese boat can transport a Globe-Miami resident immediately back home.
Thea Wilshire works as an author, psychologist, speaker, healthcare consultant, and AirBnB host. Her passions include community development, the creation of public spaces, trying new adventures, and sharing her therapy dog with schools and medical facilities. Find her blog at https://www.acornconsulting.org/blog.