As many of you know, cooking is not my forte. I know how to make a few dishes and between those and the ones my husband makes, we manage to feed our family of four. Unlike most Latina women I know, I didn’t grow up in a household where women cooked and passed on their skills to the next generation. I grew up in an atypical Latina house where my father cooked because my mother (and her mother) where never taught how to — they had maids who took care of that.
While I see absolutely nothing wrong with a man cooking, my dad is no longer here. This means that unless I learn how to make Peruvian dishes, my children will have no connection to that part of their culture, except when we travel back to Peru, which sadly is not as often as I’d like.
In an effort to change that and because I want my children to have the same memories I had regarding home-cooked meals, I’ve been letting go of my fear of failing and have started adding more dishes to my very tiny repertoire of Peruvian fare. Yesterday, I tried making ceviche — the epitome of Peruvian cuisine and one of my dad’s specialties. Because I’ve only tried to make it a couple of times in the last eight years, yesterday’s attempt felt like the very first one as I made an actual meal of it and not just a tasting sample, like in the past.
And am I ever so glad I did! Although I’ll have to tweak a couple of minor things the next time I make it, I’m happy to report it was a major hit! The best part was that Vanessa tried ceviche for the first time ever and she liked it! I was so proud of her and of myself and the whole experience reminded me how happy my dad used to get when he saw us enjoying the food he’d so lovingly prepare. There’s power in being able to transmit one’s culture through food. Not to mention the immense love and care I took to attempt to live up to my father’s standards. I think he too would’ve been very proud.
Amazing the things we do for love, for our children and for keeping our culture alive, no?
Tell us, what have you done to make sure your children know about their Latino culture?
All I could think while reading this was that you´ll finally make me ceviche next time I come visit! Jaja!
music! i like playing all different types of music in Spanish for my son– especially cumbias, even though I am not Colombian, my mom listened to them while i was growing up and i was on a major cumbia kick when i was pregnant, so he heard it even when he was in the womb! It is actually really hard to keep playing music in Spanish for him because I know how much he now loves The Fresh Beat Band and Dora, so i try to compromise and play Dora La Exploradora in Spanish.
As far as kids music that might be comparable to Dora try Doki from discovery kids. We discovered Doki while visiting family in Bogota over Christmas and got a cute little Doki cd at tango records (I don’t know if they ship or not). It’s cute, fun and very environmentally oriented.
Also, Roxana, I totally understand my husband had a similar upbringing, where the nana was the only person in his household who knew how to cook. He recently found an old copy of Cartagena en la Olla on Ebay and has been trying to help me find comparable ingredients to introduce more Colombian/Caribbean dishes. Is there a similar kind of well known collection of Peruvian recipes that you can go off of?
Thanks, Casey! Luckily, I have tons of Peruvian cookbooks. The main issue for me is that I have a pretty high standard to live up to as, like I said in my post, my dad was a tremendous cook. And it’s not just me the one judging, my husband got to enjoy his food for many years before he passed away…
Claro que sí! Now that I know that I don’t suck
I want your Ceviche recipe! My son and I make tacos, tortas, flautas, sopes and salsa, I am a terrible cook and these are easy foods to make with kids! Although it takes twice longer to cook anything with him we enjoy eating the mess!
I linked to the recipe in the post, but you can find it here: http://spanglishbaby.com/food/ceviche-a-classic-peruvian-dish/
It’s super simple and it’s only 5 ingredients, but they all have to be FRESH! Have you ever had Peruvian ceviche?
Lucky you that you get to go to Peru every year. Since my husband is from Puerto Rico and his entire family is there, we pretty much have to alternate where we go every year. In my household, the picky eater is the young one. My 2-year-old won’t really try too many new things, although he does love Puerto Rican food more than Peruvian. My daughter, on the other hand, will try pretty much anything except beans!
We just have a brief stopover here in Eugene. Cafe Yumm is fantastic. The River Play Discovery Playground was really fun. Great suggestions!