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Latinx Cooking Rituals

It’s Latinx Heritage Month, and we want to share the home cooking rituals passed down from one generation to the next. Zerline, a Dominicana residing in the big apple, shares with us her journey from finding cooking a chore to finding it a ritual.

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You will make the RICE.

Zerline was starting her first day in the kitchen next to her mom. The first cooking lesson was how to make “el arroz” or the rice. There was no meal without rice, it was a must. Her mom taught her that a perfect rice is dictated by a wooden spoon. You start by placing a wooden spoon in the middle of the pot that has the raw rice and water, if the spoon falls than your water and rice ration is not right, if it stays up then you have yourself a perfect measurement. Silly or not, it worked. Zerline’s mom still makes the best rice till this day. When Zerline finally learned the spoon trick, her mom teased her by saying “you’re ready for marriage.”

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Music will guide you.

“Mom can you please tell me how long I need to watch this pot?” A question any young adult would ask if learning how to cook Sancocho for the first time. Zerline remembers her mother ignoring her while dancing around her own dish of Tostones (fried plantain). Frustrated with her mother’s music Zerline shut the radio off. Her mother said, “how would I know when my dish is ready if you turn off the radio.” Zerline rightfully confused. Now looking for the timer on the radio to set herself one. her mom laughs and says the music is the alarm Bonita. She used the rhythm of the beat and the length of time per song to give her the right time. Zerline is quite good at this ritual now but her husband still sets a timer with Alexa.

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Did you eat?

With all the lessons Zerline learned, the one that makes her the proudest daughter is the effort her mother made to have a meal with her family. Zerline’s mom made sure to cook breakfast every morning, rush home from work to have lunch with her family and of course prepare dinner. While everyone is out of the nest Zerline’s mother still calls and texts her “Have you eaten anything? Want me to pass by and drop off food?” It’s these reminders that Zerline holds important. To take the time to sit down and eat with those you love. Some of these lessons may be found in your home but for Zerline this is her Latin Heritage.

 

Happy Latinx Heritage Month!
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