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Mezcal y Bolillo: Necessities After an Earthquake in Mexico

Published October 1, 2022 in Mexico - 0 Comments

In my first year living in Mexico City, I remember there being quite a few earthquakes that happened.

Of course, the most notable one was the one on my birthday in 2017 that you can read about here.

But there were a few others that I remember mostly because my parents were scared shitless in that first year whenever one of them happened and worried that I was hurt.

So I got a lot more messages back then.

These days -- outside of the last one that happened again on my birthday in 2022 that I wrote about here -- they seem to ignore or not even hear about the earthquakes that occasionally happen.

They're used to it.

So am I!

I remember the days where, as I wrote here, I'd try to get outside when I heard that earthquake alarm system that you can hear here.

CDMX Earthquake Alert

Where, as I wrote here, one such case involved me staying at some chick's house and I couldn't get the fucking door open.

I went back to bed with vodka bottle in hand and accepted my fate of death.

Thankfully, nothing ever happened.

These days, I have a lot less fucks to give about earthquakes.

Quite honestly, they're not as bad as the shit I remember in Iowa with tornados.

Anyway, not all Mexicans agree obviously.

While I have less fucks to give and seemingly so my parents, you never fail to see so many Mexicans outside when another earthquake alarm goes off.

Endless groups of women outside crying and hugging each other.

Men trying to look as tough as possible.

So on and so on.

And, on one such occasion during an earthquake in my first year in Mexico, I remember being confused at a particular sight among the crowds of people outside while we waited for the earthquake to happen.

There was a middle aged looking fat woman that was outside with what looked like bread in her hand.

She was eating it.

But it wasn't just her.

There were a few people outside doing the same thing.

Bread in hand for a quick snack before and after the earthquake happened.

I didn't think too much of it but it was odd to me that people were seemingly eating what looked like stale bread (with nothing to eat it with) while an earthquake was about to happen and after it did.

Life went on though.

But that was the first time I ever noticed a certain habit among some Mexicans.

The Habit of Mexicans for Earthquakes: The Bolillo

To be fair, I strongly emphasize the word some Mexicans because it seems like most Mexicans don't do this.

I could be wrong though.

I'm not out there doing a scientific poll on how many Mexicans truly eat what looks like bread for the moment of when an earthquake happens.

But, after all of the earthquakes that I've experienced in Mexico after over 5 years here and all the times I had to go outside, I don't remember seeing most people eating this thing called a "bolillo."

You can see what it looks like here.

For those who want an explanation of what is a bolillo, I got Wikipedia for you here:

"A bolillo (Spanish pronunciation: [boˈliʝo]) (in Mexico) or pan francés (in Central America) (meaning "French bread") is a type of savory bread made in Mexico and Central America. It is a variation of the baguette, but shorter in length and is often baked in a stone oven. Brought to Mexico City in the 1860s by Emperor Maximilian's troupe of cooks, its use quickly spread throughout the country.

It is roughly 15 centimeters (5.9 in) long, in the shape of an ovoid, with a crunchy crust and a soft inside known as migajón (Spanish pronunciation: [miɣaˈxon]). It is the main ingredient for tortas and molletes. It has a slash on top made with a slashing tool or bread lame, which permits the exhaust of steam and the expansion of bread without stressing its skin. A variation of the bolillo is the 'telera', which is very similar, but in this case, is usually softer and as a current trend sweeter. Other variations include bolillos made of alternate ingredients such as whole wheat, wheat germ, or flax."

It's basically just bread.

I've tried it before and it's not really that tasty unless you mix it with something else.

Anyway, I'll admit that I just don't see that many Mexicans ever eating it before or after an earthquake.

Definitely not in the street like that one day.

Perhaps they eat it more inside?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Though, among some of the Mexicans I hang out with, I don't see them eating it inside either after we go back inside the building when the earthquake is done.

So I truly don't know how many Mexicans actually eat it.

I'm sure some do as I've seen before.

And, as you can see here, supposedly it's not just bolillo but also other things Mexicans might consume after an earthquake such as mezcal.


Y aunque el dicho sobre esta bebida es más que conocido, pero el consumo de mezcal después de un susto  se debe a las creencias populares que afirman que el alma se altera después de un evento de impresión, susto o enojo, generando una serie de síntomas como nerviosismo, sudoración o ansiedad. De acuerdo con algunas recomendaciones populares un caballito de mezcal no caería mal, pues lo que se busca es que el alma se estabilice y sienta alivio.  

Té amargo  

Es sabido que el consumo de tés logran estabilizar muchas sensaciones de ansiedad, nerviosismo y por supuesto sustos, este remedio casero te ayudará a estabilizar tu cuerpo debido a sus propiedades medicinales son buenas para aliviar el susto."

Any Scientific Reasoning?

To be fair, I'm not Mexican and so there might be a deeper history behind the consumption of these specific items for moments of fear like with earthquakes.

But I did find this article here that tried to give a scientific explanation for why some Mexicans consume these things like bolillo for when an earthquake happens.

You can read it here:

"Según la costumbre, comer un pan o un bolillo después de un gran susto, es un remedio para calmar el miedo de la persona que se encuentra alterada, ya es cuestión de cada quién si prefiere el bolillo duro o no, la costumbre es simplemente ingerir un bolillo después de una situación espeluznante."

"De acuerdo con especialistas de la UNAM, ingerir pan o un bolillo, puede ser de gran ayuda para regular o estabilizar la glucosa en la sangre y a su vez, contrarrestar esa sensación de estómago vacío después de un gran susto. Este método funciona, ya que los carbohidratos y las grasas, pueden detener la producción de ácido gástrico."

So there might be some reasoning to it after all!

To be honest, as I'm not Mexican, I didn't know why some Mexicans eat this after an earthquake until just now when I looked it up.

Never really cared to nor have I ever asked any Mexican about it.

But, given the recent episode of an earthquake happening again on September 19 in 2022, I figured I'd look it up.

So, for those curious, that's supposedly the explanation.

In all likelihood, there might be more history to this detail to life in Mexico.

But that's all for now as I don't care that much about this topic.

Was just curious for a brief 10 minutes.

If you got anything to add, drop a comment below.

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Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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