Culture

13 Thanksgiving Side Dishes to Bring That Will Showcase Your Latinidad

This year don’t bring some basic bland food to Thanksgiving. Bring something that will surprise your jefitos, impress your primos, nourish your vegan/vegetarian friends, and showcase your Latinidad. Forget boring mashed potatoes, over-salted, cream-sauced vegetables, store-bought pie, or being afraid of vegan/vegetarian dishes.

You’re an adult now, this is your chance to show your love through home-made food like your family has done all these years.

1. Tamales de Green Chile y Queso

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There’s nothing more festive than tamales over the holidays, and you don’t have to wait until Christmas. Prepare a dozen or so of these for yourself and anyone else who’d rather fill up on hearty Mexican food than dry turkey. This recipe is vegetarian if you make your own masa as instructed, but if you don’t care if they are fully vegetarian, or you just don’t have much time, you could buy prepared masa con manteca from any Latin American food market. Some of us never make our own masa!

2. Brussels Sprouts with Mexican Chorizo

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If you want to bring something a bit more traditional, or you’ve been asked to bring a vegetable side dish, try these Brussels sprouts. Don’t be afraid that people don’t like Brussels sprouts, cooked this way in the fat from the cooked chorizo, they are sure to impress. The red Mexican chorizo will turn the light part parts of the sprouts red, resulting in a festive, and Mexican flag-colored, green and reddish.

3. Sqirl’s Brussels Sprouts

http://blogs.kcrw.com/goodfood/2013/11/thanksgiving-side-recipe-sqirls-brussels-sprouts/

Or maybe you’d rather put chicharron powder on your Brussels. Cooked in butter, sherry vinegar, and fleur de sal. Sqirl LA’s food is so good people from all over the country, often come straight from the airport to eat there. It happens so often that the restaurant will happily store your luggage in their stock room. Bring this Latin-flavored recipe to Thanksgiving and show your friends what all the fuss is about.

4.  Tropical Chipotle Cranberry Sauce

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Many think that this Thanksgiving staple shouldn’t be messed with, but I can assure you that American Indians and English settlers didn’t eat cranberry sauce out of the can. That said, why not try something different and add some chipotle and pineapple to some fresh cranberries for sweet, sour, and spicy version.

5. Apple Chorizo Cornbread Stuffing

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Thanks to all the Latino’s in the US, chorizo is making a strong showing in Thanksgiving dishes. If you’ve been asked to bring stuffing not cooked in the bird, make this savory cornbread chorizo stuffing. This recipe also calls for cumin, oregano, and cilantro to help round out the Latin flavors.

6. Abuelo’s Papas Con Chile or Mexican Mashed Potatoes

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These mashed potatoes use Velveeta, but people all over the internet swear by this recipe. If you were asked to bring the papas try this dish. Tell us how it went.

7. Empanadas de Camote

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This recipe combines sweet potato, bacon, and queso fresco. Hearty and filled filled with protein and iron, these empanadas are a lighter alternative to bringing masa heavy tamales. With pretty folded edges, these empanadas will look pretty on any Thanksgiving table.

8. Pan Amasado or Chilean Bread Rolls

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So you’ve been asked to bring some rolls, but you don’t want to just go to Safeway and grab whatever they have, why not make Pan Amasado? The recipe, only calls for nine every-day ingredients, including shortening, egg, and butter. Sabroso!

9. Blistered Peppers with Lime

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Blistered Padrón or shishito peppers topped with spicy sea salt are common now on menus in upscale restaurants all around the country. They are super easy to make too. Bring this to Thanksgiving at your adventurous family/friend eaters, as in the same batch, one pepper can be quite mild and the next one quite hot.

10. Puerto Rican Mofongo

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If you’re looking to bring a taste of the island to Thanksgiving make this traditional style mofongo. Made of plantains, garlic, and pork rinds, this dish is an adaptation of a West African slave dish by Taino Indians made with ingredients available on the island. A similar dish is made by Dominicans.

11. Vegan Potato Adobo Tamales

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If you’re a vegan attending a non-vegan Thanksgiving, make yourself these hearty tamales. This recipe will show you how to make both the vegan masa (made with coconut oil instead of lard) and the adobo potato filling. The recipe also calls for garlic, oregano, clove, cinnamon, and cumin. Tamales without masa are lower in calories and saturated fat.

12. Vegan Chile Rellenos

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Okay, so many of the vegan recipes here are from the same person, Dora of Dora’s Table. This mujer, Dora, who was born and raised in México and to culinary school in New York, works extra hard to create vegan versions of traditional Mexican dishes, using traditional Mexican ingredients. Her Vegan Chile Rellenos use poblano chiles and vegan cheese. On her website, Dora warns that this recipe isn’t what she’d call healthy.

13. Empanadas de Argentina

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If you’re looking to bring the taste of South America to Thanksgiving dinner, make these Argentinian Tamales. They are made with ground beef, bell pepper, and Latin-flavor spices. You’ll save time on the dough too because it’s made with store-bought puff pastry flour.

Ok, So You Got The Baby Jesus Figurine In The Rosca De Reyes, Now What?—Here’s What Día De La Candelaria Is All About

Culture

Ok, So You Got The Baby Jesus Figurine In The Rosca De Reyes, Now What?—Here’s What Día De La Candelaria Is All About

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Remember Día de Reyes when everyone cuts the rosca and hopes to god not to get the little niño Jesus? If you grew up Mexican, you probably know that whoever gets the baby Jesus figurine owes everyone tamales. But when is the tamal party? And most importantly—why? Keep reading to find out what El Día de la Candelaria means, what your abuelitas and tías are actually celebrating and how it originated —spoiler alert: it’s colonization.

February 2nd may be Groundhog Day in the United States, but in Mexico, and for many Latinos outside of Mexico, there is a completely different celebration on this date.

The religious holiday is known as Día de la Candelaria (or Candlemas in English). And on this day of the year, people get together with family and friends to eat tamales, as a continuation of the festivities of Three Kings’ Day on January 6. 

This is why your abuelita dresses up her niño Jesús in extravagant outfits.

For Día de la Candelaria it’s customary for celebrants to dress up figures of the Christ Child in special outfits and take them to the church to be blessed. Día de la Candelaria is traditionally a religious and family celebration, but in some places, such as Tlacotalpan, in the state of Veracruz, it is a major fiesta with fairs and parades.

February 2nd is exactly forty days after Christmas and is celebrated by the Catholic church as the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin.

Alternatively, this day also counts as the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple. The origin of this religious feast day comes from ancient Jewish tradition. According to Jewish law, a woman was considered unclean for 40 days after giving birth, and it was customary to bring a baby to the temple after that period of time had passed. So the idea is that Mary and Joseph would have taken Jesus to the temple to be blessed on February second, forty days after his birth on December 25.

The tradition goes back to around the 11th Century in Europe.

People typically took candles to the church to be blessed as part of the celebration. This tradition was based on the biblical passage of Luke 2:22-39 which recounts how when Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple, a particularly devout man named Simeon embraced the child and prayed the Canticle of Simeon: “Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace; Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” The reference to the light inspired the celebration of the blessing of the candles.

In Mexico Día de la Candelaria is a follow-up to the festivities of Three Kings Day on January 6th.

On Día De Reyes, when children receive gifts, families and friends gather together to eat Rosca de Reyes, a special sweet bread with figurines of a baby (representing the Child Jesus) hidden inside. The person (or people) who received the figurines on Three Kings Day are supposed to host the party on Candlemas Day. Tamales are the food of choice.

This tradition also carries Pre-Hispanic roots.

After the Spanish conquistadors introduced the Catholic religion and masked indigenous traditions with their own, to help spread evangelization, many villagers picked up the tradition of taking their corn to the church in order to get their crops blessed after planting their seeds for the new agricultural cycle that was starting. They did this on February 2, which was the eleventh day of the first month on the Aztec calendar —which coincidentally fell on the same day as the Candelaria celebration. It’s believed that this is why, to this day, the celebratory feast on February 2 is all corn-based —atole and tamales.

This date is special for other reasons too… 

February 2, marks the halfway point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox, which aligns with the pagan holiday of Imbolc. Since ancient times, this date was thought to be a marker or predictor of the weather to come, which is why it is also celebrated as Groundhog Day in the United States. There was an old English saying that went “if Candlemas be fair and bright, Winter has another flight. If Candlemas brings clouds and rain, Winter will not come again.” In many places, this is traditionally seen as the best time to prepare the earth for spring planting.

In Perú the Fiesta de la Candelaria is a festival in honor of the Virgin of Candelaria, patron saint of the city of Puno and it is one of the biggest festivals of culture, music, and dancing in the country.

The huge festival brings together the Catholic faith and Andean religion in homage to the Virgin of Candelaria. The Virgin represents fertility and purity. She is the patron saint of the city and is strongly associated with the Andean deity of ‘Pachamama’ (‘mother earth’). It is this common factor of both religions that brings them together for the festival. In 2014, UNESCO declared the festival an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The main dates of ‘Fiesta de la Candelaria’ are February 2nd – 12th.

This Latina Mom Moved Her Family From A Garage to An Apartment And The Tears Are Streaming

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This Latina Mom Moved Her Family From A Garage to An Apartment And The Tears Are Streaming

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As many of us map out, work toward, and realize our dreams in this new year, a Latina mom literally gave her children a new lease on life when she showed them the new apartment they would be living in. Up until then, the family of three lived in a garage. On Jan. 1, 2020, Ana Manzo gave her children a tour of their new, empty apartment, not knowing her daughter Meydi was recording the entire reaction. Meydi’s brother walked around excitedly, smiled when he saw the bedroom and immediately started sobbing. Now, Latino Twitter is taking it upon themselves to relate to the lows and highs and ensure the Manzo family will struggle just a little bit less.

Meydi decided to film the momentous moment that their family had been saving for over the last 7 years.

CREDIT: @MEYDII_ / TWITTER

“After more then 7 years living in a small garage that was the only thing my mom could afford, we finally got a small apartment, this was my little brothers reaction,” Meydi Manzo captioned the viral video that now has over 4 million views. It seems like both Meydi and her mom expected to see a happy reaction from her brother, but didn’t expect the tears. When her brother walks into what looks like a one-bedroom apartment, a big grin swallows up his face. Then, he starts to cry, taking a sleeve to his face to dry his tears as Mama Ana gives him a big hug and asks why he’s crying. Anyone who has been there already knows why he’s crying. “It’s okay to cry papi 💕,” offers one Twitter user. 

Another offers her experience, tweeting, “This is so beautiful to see! It’s an incredible feeling.
When I was younger I lived in a small room with 3 of my other siblings and my parents. It makes you humble… but keep grinding for that better life!!” 

After the video went viral, Meydi took the opportunity to offer a lesson in gratitude.

CREDIT: @MEYDII_ / TWITTER

“Hi we didn’t expect this to blow up the way that it did, but thank you so much to everyone for your kind words,” she tweeted, adding that her brother has read all the comments and “is beyond happy that this blew up.” For the Manzo family, this moment is all about gratitude. “Those seven years in the garage have taught us to be thankful and to appreciate everything and anything we have,” she said in a follow-up tweet. “The simplest things, we may not have much but we have each others’ love no matter how much me and my brother fight lol,” Meydi added. 

If you’re not crying yet, just wait.

Meydi has a message for those of you who are in similar situations.

CREDIT: ANA MANZO / FACEBOOK

“For those of you in similar situations, it gets better, and god is good,” Meydi tweeted. She says that her mom “is overwhelmed with feelings” because Meydi has been reading everyone’s comments to her and vows to continue to read every message of support and pass it on to her mother. “She promised us she would keep us moving forward no matter what and she has done nothing but keep that promise true,” Meydi said. “Hug your parents and remind them how thankful you are for everything they do for you and everything they have given you no matter how little it is,” Meydi offers in her final message of hope and gratitude. “Sending love and blessings to you all, thank you once again.”

So many people asked Meydi for ways they could help that she started a GoFundMe that has raised over $3k for the Manzo family.

CREDIT: ANA MANZO / FACEBOOK

“A lot of people were asking how they could help and I couldn’t think of another way,” Meydi said in the GoFundMe, adding, “my mom is a little tight on money and I hate asking others for stuff like money, but I think this would lift a weight off her chest with the upcoming bills.” In less than 24 hours, Twitter has raised at least two month’s rent for the Manzo family, with folks donating from all over the world.

So many folks felt the tears that Meydi’s brother shed because they had been there too and were in a place to donate. “I grew up not having a lot and I know what It feels like. I cried when I saw your little brother cry. I hope this help a lot, one donor who gave $100 said in a GoFundMe comment. 

May Mama Ana Manzo’s besitos give you all the bendiciones you need to reach your goals this new year.

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