A Buffet of Latin Recipes
by Monica Olivera Hazelton
Regret is sometimes a mami’s secret friend.
In this particular instance, my regret is having not learned how to cook all my ‘buelita’s favorite dishes. Oh, it’s not that I didn’t like the food! No, no, no, mi’ja. I LOVED the food and was more than happy to gobble up almost anything she set in front of me (except menudo – shudder!) Nor is it that I didn’t have the opportunity. I spent countless, wonderful hours in my abuelita’s kitchen. Sometimes helping, sometimes playing, but not enough time paying attention, I guess. And now that I am grown with niños of my own, oh, how I wish I knew her yummy secrets. To be fair, I was never really old enough to properly learn. My abuelita passed away when I was 12 years old. But sometimes I wonder how I would be different had she lived longer.
Anyway, my point is – how many family recipes are lost with the passing of a generation? Way too many, I think.
Lately, I have been especially preoccupied with a study that states that Latino children are suffering from obesity more than any other ethnic group. The causes listed are poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, and acculturation to the American way of life. Too much fast food and processed foods, they say. Abuelita really did know best when it came to family meal planning!
Unfortunately, like me, many Latina moms who are second, third and even fourth generation Americans, have lost family recipes and are less likely to cook traditional wholesome dishes. So I have done a little digging around and for those of you looking for more traditional recipes that reflect our cutura, here is a variety of blogs passing along these tasty meals.
One of my personal favorites is A Little Cup of Mexican Hot Chocolate . . . And More: A Girl’s Guide to Cooking Mexican Food Just Like Her Abuelita. Whew! A long name for a most delicious blog imparting Mexican recipes along with beautiful photographs and witty, charming stories rich in cultura. Reading it makes me teary-eyed and nostalgic for my childhood and family, but it is a great way for me to connect.
Next is Laylita’s Recipes. Filled with Ecuadorian recipes, her blog will immediately make your stomach growl and your mouth water. Her pictures are divine and entice you to run out and buy ingredients – even if it is 3 am!
Spain-Recipes.com offers a wonderful compilation of recipes from all over Spain and they even categorize them as to the dishes typical to each region. WOW! If you are an española, get over there now! I almost cried when I found the one for croquetas de jamón…
From Argentina With Love will melt your soul with her dulce de leche recipes. Who knew there were so many things you could make with it? Rebecca’s blog is a beautiful thing – I’m not from Argentina, but I sure wish I was after reading it!
For the most sabroso Colombian dishes, be sure to dive into My Colombian Recipes. In addition to her wonderful recipes, Erica also gives you ingredient sources and even vegetarian dishes!
Even though he just started his blog in January, everyone seems to be raving about Eric Rivera’s Cooking Blog… and after looking at his Puerto Rican recipe for mofongo served with a sofrito soup broth, I totally understand. Too much work for me, but easy fun for a 27-year-old Puerto Rican culinary school student, I guess!
The Panama Gourmet, Chef Melissa De Leon, also has a delightful site – www.CookingDiva.net – full of recipes from all over Latin America. Note of Caution: If you’re like me, you may gain 10 pounds just sitting and reading her oh-so-yummy recipes!
Of course, the gazpacho, churros and salsa fresca recipes are flying around the Tiki Tiki, but make sure you follow the links to their personal blogs, such as Marta’s My Big Fat Cuban Family, which features an extraordinary dose of Cuban recipes.
This is a nice start, but I am sure that there are MANY delicious blogs that I have missed. Won’t you let us know about your recipe blog or one that you know about, por favor?