From The Pot to Our Hearts, My Abuela’s Cookingcsudhbulletin October 20, 2021 0 COMMENTS
Spices, condiments and recipes filled my grandma’s kitchen, as she filled our hearts with care and love.
Art by Evelyn Rodriguez
By Evelyn Rodriguez, Staff Reporter
Food is something that has always brought my family together. As a third generation Latina, I can close my eyes and still smell the delightful aromas that would fill the house with grandma’s cooking. My family, originally from Nayarit, Mexico, came here and brought the cuisines of our country with them.
I remember my grandma Rosalva, always in the kitchen cooking dinner for us. Most of the dishes she cooked were Mexican. However, on occasion like Thanksgiving she substituted the Mexican food for the traditional American turkey dinner. She made turkey but always ensured to cook a piece of ham since my grandpa Marcos doesn’t eat turkey.
Although my grandma cooked and integrated American dishes every now and then, she never let us forget about the traditions she experienced in her homeland. One of these was making tamales for every Christmas. She would either make the masa from scratch or buy it at the supermarket when she was short on time. She generally did the prepping by herself but when it came time to actually stuff the tamales my mom and I would help her. She would set out the leaves and hand us a spoon to begin. Usually my grandma would spread the masa, my mom would stuff the tamales with the meat or pineapple mixture. She handed them to me and I would wrap them up.
My grandparents have six grandchildren, three girls, and three boys. Since we lived next door to each other, my cousins, brother and I grew up together. I lived in a pretty full house, which I enjoyed, because it meant there were always lots of kids at your birthday party. My grandma would always make birthdays feel special and continues to do so now. For my birthday, I always asked my grandma to cook pozole (a traditional Mexican soup made of chicken or pork) for me. Out of all her dishes, that is my favorite. For each birthday, we got a cake from Sweetie’s Bakery in Gardena, a place we still visit today.
Food means love and my grandma has shown that to us for many years. Back in the day, my grandma would usually cook dinner throughout the week since my mom had to work long hours. She was a caretaker to all of us and her food filled not just our bellies but our hearts. She would make tostadas de pollo, enchiladas, chiles rellenos, taquitos among other dishes.
But one thing that I can say is that just by looking and helping my grandma cook dinner when I was younger, has helped me learn how to cook. Granted when I try to replicate the dishes exactly how my grandma makes them, they just don’t turn out as good as hers but I can say I made them and modified them to my way of cooking. I’m certain that the traditions, dishes and the love my grandma handed and passed down to us will also be something I’ll continue to pass down and integrate for those in my lineage.