Food has always been my favorite part of Christmas, especially because until my Dad passed away, I never had to worry about anything expect eating! I’m not a big fan of turkey, but his was always para chuparse los dedos. Silly me, I guess I thought he’d be around forever and I never learned any of his culinary tricks.
So, for the last five years we’ve just had to make do on our own – luckily we spent the last Christmas in Puerto Rico, where food was the main attraction, and a couple of years before that we ordered lechón from a Cuban restaurant back when we lived in Miami.
This year we are going to try something different. My eldest cousin is coming from Mexico with her family, so for the past few days emails have been coming and going between that city, Florida (where my sister lives part of the year) and Denver as we try to figure out what the menu should include.
It’s finally come down to this: since we all kind of hail from different places, we’ve decided to make it into a multicultural Noche Buena feast. What exactly does that mean? Well, we’re each going to be responsible for a dish that represents our culture/country.
My husband, who is from Puerto Rico, will make the lechón asado, arroz con habichuelas and his famed and delicious Coquito. He’s only cooked lechón once before and it was actually pretty good, so we’ll have to see how it goes this time.
My sister and her husband – who’s family is part Greek – will be making the turkey plus some kind of Greek salad.
I will be in charge of the salads that we’ve always had for Christmas – the ones my Dad used to make. I know they’re not Peruvian, but they’re a tradition in our family. One is a Waldorf Salad and the other one is Ensalada Rusa. I used to have platefuls of both these salads growing up. Hopefully, they’ll turn half as decent as my Dad’s.
Although it’s not one of our family’s tradition, arroz arabe is a dish typically eaten during Christmas in Peru and since my sister-in-law has made it in the past, we’re asking her to do it again this year.
My cousin, who was born in Perú, but has lived in Mexico most of her life, will be making a pastel de elote dulce which I don’t think I’ve ever tasted and she swears is exiquisito! And, I believe her because the recipe calls for condensed milk and anything with leche condensada has to be delicious…
Finally, we’ll also be having the traditional panetón and hot chocolate which will go perfect with what we’re all hoping will be a white Christmas! Se me hace agua la boca just thinking about all this food!
I love the idea of creating new traditions while keeping some old ones and I can’t wait to get my daughter involved in the process. Ya falta poco…