My Favorite Food
Food is an important part of my culture. My mother is from the Dominican Republic where food is a big part of everyday life. Dominicans are made up of an amazing blend of Spanish, African, and Taíno ancestors. The different cultural elements are noticeable in our foods. We believe that our cuisine is a reflection of our culture. Dominican cooking has a lot in common with Puerto Rico, Cuba and as well as our neighbor Haiti. Unlike the United States, dinner is not our main meal. Lunch is the most important meal of the day.
To me the best meals are during the holidays. You can smell the love in the air by simply opening the oven door. The aroma just wraps around you and gives you comfort. Christmas is one of the most important holiday of the year for Dominicans. A traditional Christmas meal in my family is empanadas, pasteles, puerco asado (roasted pig), accompanied by moro de guandules (rice and pigeon peas), ensalada rusa (Russian salad) and you can’t forget coquito (rum eggnog).
Christmas meal used to be my favorite until one Easter when I was about 6 years old and I first had habichuelas con dulce (sweet beans). During Easter it’s a Dominican tradition to make a big pot of habichuelas con dulce and share among family and friends. It has such a distinctive taste. No two households make them the same, so the taste will vary from house to house. It’s a mixture of red kidney beans, raisins, cinnamon, sweet potatoes, coconut milk and several other ingredients. I usually accompany it with milk cookies. My grandmother passed away when I was about 10 and my biggest memory is being in the kitchen with her on Easters cooking habichuelas con dulce. That was our bonding time and for that reason habichuelas con dulce is my favorite food. As I’ve grown and have taste different types of foods, nothing will ever take the place of habichuelas con dulce because that was my bonding time with my grandmother. For the simple reason habichuelas con...