I always knew where my pork sandwiches came from. I’d been staring at the lifeless eyes of a roasted whole pig on an annual basis since I was five years old. Eyes that didn’t mean anything but, “I’m feeding your entire family tonight, and your mom will creatively insert me in various meals for at least a week.”
Taking my parents out to dinner is a game of chance. Age, experience, and generally strong opinions typically lead us to dine at “safe choices,” places like their favorite local Cuban restaurant, or a major chain – usually Ruby Tuesday or Macaroni Grill.
They’re very well aware that these are subpar places, but the point is – they’re expectedly subpar. No surprises here, folks. The Fettuccini Alfredo is bland, the server is disinterested, and even though the dessert menu ne…Continue Reading
“Do not underestimate this book, mi hija,” my mom tells me as she hands over a book with a faded pink cover, an artifact that’s been in our house since the beginning of time.
“This book smells like café,” says my sister, scrunching her nose as we pass the book around the kitchen.
As I page through the coffee-stained pages of my mom’s copy of Nitza Villapol’s Cocina Criolla, which is pretty much the Cuban cooking bible, I see familiar characters from my upbringing. There’…Continue Reading
Every morning before school, I’d wake up to the familiar clink-clink-clink of a spoon stirring around a metal cup as my dad toiled over the morning’s coffee. The smell of roasting Bustelo wafting toward my bedroom only meant my dad would come lumbering in any second now to drag me out of bed and into my school uniform.
As an adult, the daily clink-clink-clink sound became the promise of an awesome, new day. Sweet, delicious cafecito is here to punch you in your face, and yo…Continue Reading
I used to be a very picky eater, a likely result of my mother cooking the same rotation of seven dishes for the entirety of my childhood. This perfectly orchestrated dinner schedule suited my risk-averse personality, and the fact that my parents are Cuban meant dinners always comprised of protein, rice, and magic mom sauce.
On weekends, we deviated from the traditional and went for some “outside” food — cheese pizza from Pizza Hut or some lo mein and orange chicken fr…Continue Reading