Sundays Are For Spanish: Foodie or Not?

As I sat and pondered my garden this morning, my stomach growled. Coffee just wasn’t cuttin’ it. I’m not a big eater and never have been. As an adult, I’ve barely managed to make it over a hundred pounds, except for during pregnancy. It’s partly genetic, partly my diet. I love my fiber, yogurt, and a good pasta but I don’t usually think about food for enjoyment. My husband, on the other hand, who is Mexican American, is almost obsessed with it. We often talk about what he’s eaten on the road. We fight about it when he’s home. But our best memories are in the kitchen, laughing about the cow tongue tacos we tricked my mother into eating, making tamales for the first time, watching our son spit out barely picante salsa.

Now, being a white person, and this probably won’t surprise many people of color, I haven’t grown up with a love for food. No one in my family is a “natural cook” or particularly likes the ritual of preparing, serving, and eating a hot meal with family or friends. I don’t want to make generalizations about any group of people, but take what you will from this. Nevertheless, I’m no “foodie.”

I’d like to say that I can cook. But I’ve had to study it and am constantly asking my husband, who cooks without fear or hesitation, for advice. However, planning and executing a meal is, in my husband’s opinion, my responsibility. El machísmo of my husband’s culture is something I have had to adjust to, but its present in any man’s ethnic background, so, whatever.

I started cooking and though I’m not always interested in eating, (a necessary, biological process for me) I’m always friggin’ hungry now.

My husband makes the best guacamole, carefully cubing the fresh avocados (not homegrown) rather than scooping it all out and mashing everything together. He leaves in the pit because it helps to keep it fresh. This guacamole casera takes a bit longer to make, but he does it for me because he knows I love it.

Maybe I’m enjoying this food stuff because I’ve achieved a pretty good tamal (aka tamales). The secret to the success of my tamales is a mystery to me, but it might be because I mix the maza (dough) by hand (por mano), something my husband insisted I do. It helps to make your own chicken broth, too, but I’m really no expert.

I think you can learn a lot by accepting and living with people of other backgrounds or cultural upbringings (I won’t call it “race” because there’s only the human one). Most important of those lessons being to eat with your family (familia) and cook something once in a while. Whatever the case, I’m lucky to be where I’m at, to have learned what I can.

And all that other inspirational jazz. I’m off to eat.

This is an upcycled post, meaning if you’ve seen it before its because it was published before. I may have edited or changed parts or all of the original post.

Sundays Are For Spanish

I want to start a little series where I introduce everyone to some Spanish words, hopefully with funny anecdotes or stories.

You don’t have to learn Spanish with me (maybe you’re already fluent for all I know), I just enjoy writing in both languages and sharing some vocab words.

I will be posting my Spanish “lessons” on Sundays because I’m all about alliteration ;). If you didn’t already know.

Buenos dias y que tenga un domingo feliz!

Good morning and have a happy Sunday!

P.S. Happy Mother’s Day! (Feliz dia de las mamas)

Trashy TV is the TV for Me

I don’t often watch television. Every few years the cable goes off for a year or two because it’s not a necessity for us. I am rarely interested in weekly drama or comedy shows. I prefer to watch reality TV. From documentaries such as DiCaprio’s Before The Flood, or The Great British Baking Show, to MTV’s The Challenge and an old favorite, Forensic Files. While watching other fiction TV shows (and I realize there are scripts in all of the above shows), I often lose myself in my analyses of the writers’ dialogue and plots. I find that life has a way with words that cannot be emulated.

When I am not feeling my best, mentally or physically, I like to turn on a “trashy TV show,” as my mother calls them. I like to watch others struggle to find answers or cooperate with people that are different from them. I like to think that I can learn a lot from the mistakes or triumphs of the people on these TV shows.

Whether I am absorbing valuable information or not, I relax when I watch reality TV. Sometimes I get up from the couch feeling refreshed, knowing more about myself than I did when I sat down. There is value in forgetting what you know and watching others display their mental and physical talents.

From The Great British Bake-off I have learned that competition can be friendly, and a soggy bottom is enemy number one in the kitchen. From Before the Flood I learned that there is reason to be optimistic, but solutions must be worked out now. From MTV’s The Challenge, I have learned a lot about team-building and how difficult running through a desert can be. And of course, you can pick up a lot from Forensic Files, one tip being to lock your doors at all times.

Whatever you learn, it’s okay to watch reality TV. Some may call it “trashy,” or “depressing” in the case of climate change documentaries, but I find a value in this kind of entertainment. Often, I simply zone out for a little bit, but once in a while I pick up a gem.

Parenting Sex and Gender: It’s really none of your business

I have a son, Sergio, and a daughter, Marisol. I didn’t believe in the whole ‘gender’ thing, being one of many that was educated in Gender and Women Studies while in college. I thought gender roles to be an invention of patriarchy. Still, I am not an expert in the sexes or gender, and would never dare to make assumptions. I’ve only noticed a few things.

There are real physical differences in male and female children, but you can do your own research if you wish. There are huge differences in the personalities of my children, and I’ve recently stopped thinking about it altogether, unable to combine what I’ve learned in the classrooms with what I see in front of me. Gender, I still believe, is yours for the choosing. Each of our bodies are our own, and no one can, or should, tell us how to treat or view them. Sexuality would be an entirely distinct conversation, and is already happening. I have nothing new to say on the matter besides leave people alone.

What I have noticed is that my son truly is wild. He likes to play rough: boxing, throwing himself on the floor, pulling hair (NOT MINE) until it’s no longer funny. He also has a problem coping with the word “no,” and is just a tad needy (sound like any men you know? Sergio is three, however, and will learn what “no” means). He’s got incredible hand strength (already taking the tops off of everything!) and is a funny guy all around. I love him, but he surprises me with his masculinity.

Marisolita, on the other hand, is mostly quiet, very agreeable, and incredibly social (already laughing and smiling constantly at five months). Sergio is social too; they really are more similar than dissimilar. Also, I am not encouraging a gender-free environment, so maybe the little people of our home are already learning about our society. I do have rules about respecting gender, sexuality, and the like. I do not tolerate slurs or disparaging comments about any group of people under my roof. That goes for everyone. But there is a division of labor in our house, one that adheres to society’s current rules. None of us can do everything, so my husband and I agreed upon our terms and signed the contract at the courthouse.

In my opinion, it is not our business, as parents, to worry about who our children will be in the realm of sexuality and gender. I don’t know how these things are chosen, I only know it’s not my choice.

We must, however, do our best to educate our children, to the best of our abilities. Sergio and Marisol with learn, at the appropriate times, about the realities of sex and gender: their importance as a biological process, the anatomy of intercourse, the necessity of consent, protection, and what “love” supposedly means. I hope to make my explanation so technical and boring that their little curiosities will be dispelled, until they are of the ages to care and choose for themselves with sufficient knowledge.

For now, I’m focusing on creating a great childhood for my children, and foundations for critically-thinking, healthy minds. I have some time to prepare for the awkward lecture, and Sergio and Marisol have a lot of growing still to do. Focus on observation without judgement, creating a loving bond with your children, and minding your own business when it comes to things that are out of your control.