Thanksgiving Flan and Culture

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Gracias for the Flan

I nearly cried in the hallway at my daughter’s school this week: Because she told the world she loves my flan. My Thanksgiving flan.

The badly photographed image above is an excerpt from the nearly-9-year-old’s Fall essay. It was pinned to the wall in the hallway. The first page was all about how she loves to play in the leaves and make art from acorns, but the second had this:

“I love the turkey that my mom makes. She also makes delicious cranberry sauce and gravy. But, I love her pumpkin flan most of all. Flan is sort of a Cuban custard, and it’s very creamy.”

People, I am doing something right when my Nashville born-and-bred, semi-Cubanita is writing about her mama’s Cuban flan. (Glad she likes my turkey too…)

Can you tell what I am most thankful for? Esta nena, who reminds me that though it is sometimes hard and lonely to promote the culture far from the homeland, it is worth it. Something usually sticks.

The other day, she had to give a talk on her heritage, and while she is a mixed bag of DNA, with everything from Cuban to Swedish in there, she picked Cuba.

This excitement of mine may appear overblown, but realize that I get dismissed and sometimes ignored on the whole culture thing. I have to work extra hard to speak Spanish with her. So when she embraces something in our culture, I get teary and silly. (Even, if what she’s embracing is just a flan.)

I don’t know how she is going to identify as she grows. That’s up to her, really. Identity is personal, comes from the seat of your soul, I think. But, my kid’s essay — hung for all to see — gives me hope that one day, at her own Thanksgiving table, she will be serving her mama’s flan and sharing a piece of herself, and her history, with those at her table.

My daughter was born three days before Thanksgiving 9-years-ago. For that gift, I am eternally grateful. This year, as an early birthday present, mama will let her have all the extra flan she wants.

My Pumpkin Flan Recipe

By the way, my Thanksgiving Flan is Pumpkin Flan with Gingersnap Crust by Douglas Rodriguez, author of Nuevo Latino. It is always a hit.

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By Carrie on November 15, 2012 · Posted in del alma

2 Comments | Post Comment

Tracy says:

This made my heart so happy and I’m smiling so wide right now because I know exactly how you feel. My younger son wrote a story in school last year about his trip to El Salvador. The last line was, “When I saw El Salvador, I felt I was born there.”

Still chokes me up! :)

Posted on November 16th, 2012

marcela says:

I was on pinterest looking for pumpkin flan recipes… so glad I came this way…
marcela´s last [fabulousness] ..November 17th World Prematurity Day

Posted on November 21st, 2012