Bilingual is Better

Photo credit: Orgazmika

Ay, food…It’s not only the way to a man’s heart (or so they say), but also the passage to the sweetest of memories and the preservation of traditions.  Part of our journey of raising bilingual and bicultural children is instilling in them a love and passion to the cultural elements that are tied to their mother tongue.  Every language carries with it a magical bag filled with the music, dances, rituals, artistic expressions and the food that identifies it.  Las recetas de nuestras abuelas, the smell of the chiles roasting in mom’s kitchen, the arepa stand from the street you grew up in.  The smells, sounds, images from the food that binds us as a culture, as much as our language does.

Here, in SpanglishBaby, we celebrate The Culture of Food with articles about those foods we use at home to fuel our traditions.  Roxana and I wished we were much more skilled in the kitchen and be able to share with you weekly recipes, but, in all honesty, it’s a weak point.  We do, however, rely heavily on the help of amazing women who are blogging about Latin foods, with a well-rounded heap of cultura.  Last year, we shared with you 5 Delicious Latin Food Blogs we had discovered and still continue to enjoy. Now, as the Latino blogosphere continues to explode, we’ve added five more to our list of must-read Latin food blogs. Check them out and crave them all by yourself.

1.  Gabriela’s Kitchen.-This is Mexican and Latin home cooking at it’s most comforting.  Just a quick visit to Gabriela’s blog will make you feel at home and welcomed to stay for some taquitos and sangría mexicana.  She gorgeously illustrates her recipes with her own pictures that just add to the feeling of warmth.  Gabriela claims she picked up her love for food and traditions from three generations of women who passed it down to her.  Her recipes certainly exude nostalgia and an excitement to share the recipes that are part of her life.  Even something so simple and easy to  make as an elote de la calle is given an honorary place in this blog.

2.  My Big Fat Cuban Family.-There´s always a Cuban feast cooking over at Marta Darby´s blog-casa!  This blog is a celebration of her Cuban-American family and how they maintain their traditions through music and food.  And, who would not want to maintain Pastelitos de Guayaba or Vaca Frita (OK..not for vegeterians!) in their family menu?

3.  The Other Side of the Tortilla.-Not only is this one of the most creative blog titles I’ve run across in a while, but it’s also a true testament of the power of food to preserve and unite cultures.  Writer and photographer Maura Hernandez has created a place to share the traditional Mexican and Latin recipes that she’s on a mission to reconstruct after marrying a Mexican man and being engulfed by his culture while visiting Mexico City.  I enjoy how she takes you along with her to a cultural journey with every recipe she puts out.  Nothing is random here, every food has a history and a mission.  I knew she had me when she posted a recipe for the Sopa de Fideo her mother-in-law made for her one time she got sick after taking a trip with her suegro to the pyramids of Teotihuacán in Mexico.  Not sure what´s more memorable, if the Sopa or her suegro beating her up to the top of the Piramide del Sol.

Photo by net_efekt's

4. Striving Bean.-Yes.  Beans. This is a whole blog dedicated to that wholesome, delicious, protein-rich food that is a staple in the Latin diet-beans.  Micaela Vega created this blog because she felt el frijol wasn´t getting the love it deserves in the typical American child´s diet.  So, she experiments with all type of bean recipes with her two kids and husband and writes all about it on her blog.   I had no idea a simple bean could go so far, but she takes it to territories such as Dark Chocolate Cookies (with black beans!) and Baked Macaroni and Cheese and Beans .  After reading this blog I feel bad for the poor, boring beans in my pantry. I´ve got to help them strive for more than arroz con frijoles!

5.-Pati´s Mexican Table.-Pati is a cooking teacher, food writer and chef at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington, D.C. Her site is full with traditional recipes from her native Mexican land that she has made simple and accessible to all.  She also uses gorgeous pictures to take you step by step through even the most challenging of recipes, like Mole Poblano.  My favorite part of her site is The Basics, where she has posted the recipes and techniques any aspiring, cultural home cook should try to make: corn tortillas, refried beans, salsa verde.  My family could practically live off that menu alone, just toss in a bit of cotija cheese and we´re set.

I realize that this time around the blogs I chose are predominantly about Mexican food.  It just happened to be that way, without really planning it.  I’d love to discover more from different Latin countries with your help. Please share with us any blogs you have found that share the traditional recipes you love.

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