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December 16, 2012 – 3:09 pm | 17 Comments

Childhood memories are vivid, almost indescribable in their detail, and impossible to forget. A Christmas memory I have is that of a black velvet dress  a family friend gave to me for my seventh Christmas.
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She is Easy Book Fodder

Submitted by on March 5, 2010 – 5:00 am3 Comments

By Ailen Arreaza

After watching the movie Julie & Julia with my mom …

Me: How amazing would it be if I could turn my blog into a book and a movie?
Big E: I really believe you could do it!
Me: Yea, maybe. Or maybe, I could become a cook like Julia Child! After all, she was much older than me when she started. I could end up a famous chef!
Big E: Uh, I think you should stick to writing. I wouldn’t want to see you with burn scars and missing fingers.

Cold, Big E. Ice cold.

I will have you know that in the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing a lot better with my New Year’s resolution to cook more. Okay, I know that the original resolution was to cook dinner every weekday, but let’s face it, that’s an impossible pipe dream.

My husband must have put a hallucinogen in my New Year’s Eve champagne to get me to come up with that idea. So, in an unaltered state of mind, I modified my goal to the purposely vague and ambiguous “cooking more.” There is no way I can mess that up. As a matter of fact, if I make dinner two more times this year, I will have cooked more than in all my previous years combined. Great success!

Not everything has turned out perfectly, of course. I made lasagna that was too salty and lacking in cheese, and I had to try my hand at yellow rice three times before getting it to actually look and taste like – well, not exactly yellow rice, but something in the yellow rice family. A third cousin perhaps.

However, I’m very proud to announce that my husband and I made Snapper on Angel Hair with Citrus Cream for a couple of friends last week, and it turned out pretty fantastic. It was inspiring…

So inspiring that, over the weekend, we made it a point to get groceries in order to guarantee another successful week in the kitchen. As we headed to the store – the Latin American grocery store where we buy the plantains, malangas, and boniatos to make Luki’s baby food* – I called Big E on the phone.

Me: We’re headed to the Latin grocery to buy malanga.
Big E: Are you with the baby?
Me: Yes.
Big E: Please don’t take the baby in there. Do you know how dirty that place is? Have you seen the floors? Last time I was in there, I had to leave right away because the smell made me want to throw up.
Me: Ok, mom.
Big E: I’m serious! Please don’t take the baby into that pit of infestation!

I, of course, ignored her. Granted, the floors weren’t spotless and there was a unique smell permeating the air, probably because they sell things like cow tongue,** but it’s not like they had bubonic plague infested rats scurrying by. It was fine.

A few hours later, Luki and I headed over to her house for a late lunch with some family friends. She immediately asked if I had really taken the baby inside that “putrid place” and, because it’s juuust sooo eeeasy, I responded, “Well, yea. But he only crawled on the floor for a few minutes while we picked out produce, and as soon as I saw him licking the side of the vegetable bin, I told him to stop.”

She was livid.

Then our friend suggested my mom buy one of those backpack sprayers to fill with Clorox and hose down every surface Luki comes in contact with. We all started laughing, and I had this vision of my mother walking in front of us disinfecting sidewalks and grassy fields in parks before Luki could get to them, and I thought:

“Big E is absolutely right, I should stick to writing. I can’t let all the free material she provides go to waste.”

***

*He eats like a Cuban child. I can’t wait to send him to school with guava and cream cheese sandwiches instead of peanut butter and jelly.

**Don’t knock cow tongue until you’ve had tongue tacos.

Ailen Arreaza documents the bilingual adventures of her Cuban/Venezuelan/American family at everybodylovesbaby. She was born in Havana and has lived in the U.S. since 1992. She currently resides in North Carolina. You can read her last Tiki Tiki post here.

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