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?