Pete’s Market

Pete’s Fresh Market, Chicago, Illinois

Because of its large Mexican community, you can shop for Mexican food at many grocery stores in the Chicagoland area. There are the real supermercados like El Güero or La Internacional in Chicago, but Pete’s Market has been expanding recently. There are several stores on the south side of Chicago, one in Evergreen Park, and one in Calumet City. They’re very successful because they sell authentic Mexican products at low prices, although I’ve heard that they are Greek-owned.

I love their tamales. I used to go the Pete’s Market on 47th and Kedzie early in the morning just to buy tamales because they tasted great and I didn’t have to make them myself. If you love authentic Mexican food, you will certainly find it here.

They also sell Mexican candy and piñatas. Most of the employees speak Spanish. Even in Evergreen Park where you wouldn’t expect to find many Spanish speakers. Actually, I was surprised to see a Mexican grocery store open in Evergreen Park. But then again, Chicago wouldn’t allow a Walmart to open within the city limits, so they opened a store across the street in Evergreen Park, a suburb that always finds new and creative ways to generate tax revenue.

Don’t be surprised if a Pete’s Market opens up near you.


Language barrier

Back of the Yards, Chicago, Illinois.

When I was growing up, my parents always spoke Spanish at home. Once I began attending school, I was supposed to speak English at home. This way my parents would be forced to learn to speak English. This was a good idea in theory, but the reality resulted in bilingual conversations in which I would speak English and my parents would speak Spanish. To this day, I still speak to my father in English; whenever I speak to him in Spanish and he doesn’t understand me.

One day, my mother sent me to the store to buy pork chops. She specifically told me to buy pork chops, but she told me in Spanish. As I’m walking to the store, I realize that I don’t remember how to say pork chops in English. I kept trying to remember as I walked to the store. Luckily, there were two customers ahead of me. That gave me more time to think about what I had to buy. Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember the English name for pork chops. The best I could come up with was “pig chops.” But I was too embarrassed to ask for “pig chops” because I knew that wasn’t the right term. So I walked home empty-handed and my mother asked me why I didn’t buy the pork chops. When I told her what happened, she said that I should have asked for “pig chops.” She didn’t know the English word for pork chops, either.

That night, we ate chicken.