[Article] A Puerto Rican Taste for Memorial Day

One of these days I will stop writing about food. Well, maybe I am lying. I grew up in a Cafeteria and it is sometimes difficult not to think about food to describe my memories. Growing up we did not set an alarm to know when it was time for school. As soon as we smelled the pork chops we knew it was time to get out of bed. When we heard my mom say that the rice was ready, it was time to go out of the door.

I imagine I am not the only person who relates food with memories and nostalgic moments. That is probably one of the reasons to over eat and gain couple of pounds every time we go on vacation. In my case, I cannot leave the airport area in Puerto Rico without going to Piñones to eat ‘bacalaitos’, ‘alcapurrias’ and meat ‘piononos’. All this with a freshly opened coconut on the side.

It is difficult to cook a full Puerto Rican menu when you share the house with people from a different country. I imagine they are probably attached to food as I am, but I am not afraid to say it. For many years, I just set aside my Caribbean cooking book and learned how to make “delicious” American dishes as biscuits and gravy, hamburger helper, sloppy joes.

IMAG0245I need to accept that cooking these dishes does not give me the same satisfaction than to cook Puerto Rican food. Even if I am the only one that will taste and enjoy them. They look more inviting and you can see our colors, music and arts on them. Cooking and eating Puerto Rican food is a great way to start a conversation. Our food is more than something to eat. It is a story on every ingredient and on every bite.

I recently discovered that our food can be married with other foreign dishes to create a kaleidoscope of flavors and textures. A couple of days ago we decided to do a BBQ, but ended up having  a different flare. I was able to Americanize our traditional ‘pinchos’ and introduced a Piña Colada to provide our flavor. I kept the essence of the American taste with grilled potatoes and watermelon for dessert.

Definitely, the experience was different, but at the same time gave me the opportunity to travel to my island for a couple of minutes. The two hours cooking time passed flying and the eating time was exquisite. In this Memorial day, remember the fallen and celebrate your culture. I certainly can say I am proud of my husband’s service and he has learned how to live with the rum & olive oil in my veins.

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