Culture

You Can Learn A Lot About Early Latinos Thanks To Hanukkah Comida

Jewish cuisine for Hanukkah has a flavor filled with history.

The distinctive styles of Jewish cuisine stem from all sorts of cultures including Ashkenazi, Sephardi, Indian, and Latin-American. Shaped by Jewish dietary laws, Jewish culinary traditions particularly those as they apply to the celebration of Hanukkah tell a story about early Latinos.

That’s right your love for rich holiday dishes like short ribs soaked in red wine sauce, braised brisket and latkes have Latinx roots.

If you celebrate Hanukkah this year, you might consider this blurb about Jewish culinary traditions and how they relate to early Latinidad.

According to a report by MSNBC the Sephardic Jews and Moors, Spanish Muslims, who were expelled from Spain in 1492 have a cultural connection to Jewish families in New York.

“Many of the Jews who lived there [Harlem] in those days were recent immigrants, which made the whole area seem like a Tower of Babel. There were Sephardic Jews who spoke ancient Spanish or Portuguese,” Bernardo Vega a Puerto Rican newspaper publisher explained in his memoir which describes Jewish who spoke Ladino (a blend of Spanish, Hebrew, Aramaic, and other languages).

Latkes.

VINCE TALOTTA/TORONTO STAR (Photo by Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

According to Vega, the beloved Hannukah dish latkes can be traced all of the ways back to the 13th century. Vega says that different versions of the potato pancake recipe blend foods from Europe, the Middle East, and America.

“I noticed that a lot of the things I related through my Jewish identity or even my interest in Middle Eastern foods spoke to me in each of the original cuisines of Spain,” NYC restaurateur Alex Raij told MCNBS. According to the outlet, Raij’s parents are Argentinian.

“For Eastern European Jews, the most popular latke recipes include grated potatoes. But even before the Spaniards imported potatoes from South America to Europe in the 16th century, Sephardic Jews (of Spanish or Portuguese descent) were making ricotta cheese pancakes in Italy” reports MSNBC while “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food” by Gil Marks.

Sofrito.

Pollo paella is photographed at Bellota restaurant on Wednesday, March 15, 2017, in San Francisco Calif. The dish consists of plancha-roasted chicken, cider braised apple, broccolini, and butifarra sofrito. (Aric Crabb/Bay Area News Group) (Photo by MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images)

Food enthusiasts can see the Latino connection of Jewish and Moorish cooking styles in Sofrito. The Latin American food base for beans, rice, meats, and other dishes, sautés aromatic ingredients like chopped garlic, onion, peppers, and tomatoes in olive oil. Sofrito was used by Sephardic Jews as a method to slow cook pieces of meat like chicken, beef, and lamb.

Flan.

MCLEAN, VA – NOVEMBER 1: Flan is photographed Thursday November 1, 2012 in McLean, VA. (Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Another traditional dish with Jewish and Spanish roots includes flan, a dish cooked by Jews who stayed in Spain despite the expulsion and pretended to convert to Christianity. According to a report by The New York Times, “To prove that they were like Christians, the Jews made flans, but used orange juice, sugar water, and almonds so they could eat the flan with a meat meal.”

What’s so exciting about these connections and how they relate to Hanukkah is that they are another reminder that food can bring people and cultures together.

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UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Things That Matter

UPS Delivery Man Is Fired After Video Surfaces of His Anti-Latino Racist Rant

Photo courtesy Forward Latino

An unnamed UPS delivery driver has been fired after being caught using racist language when delivering a package to a Latino household. The incident occurred on December 17th.

The video, which was caught on a doorbell camera’s security footage, shows a white UPS driver appearing to be angry when delivering a package.

“Now you don’t get f—–g nothing…You can’t read and write and speak the f—–g English language,” he says while writing a “failed to deliver” notice and pasting it on the house’s front door.

The Aviles family says that the footage shows that the UPS worker never even attempted to deliver the package in the first place. He never rang the doorbell or knocked on the door. Based on that, the family has come to the conclusion that the driver intentionally withheld the package from the family out of prejudice and spite

They believe that the only way the driver could’ve known that the family was Latino was by making assumptions based off the name on the package.

“The only information this driver had that could serve as a trigger for this deep-seated hate was the name on the package,” said Forward Latino President Darryl Morin at a press conference addressing the incident.

“So what we have here is a very intentional act to ruin Christmas for somebody, for someone to spew this hateful rhetoric, and quite honestly to deceive their employer,” Morin continued.

Per UPS, the employee has now been fired. “There is no place in any community for racism, bigotry or hate. This is very serious and we promptly took action, terminating the driver’s employment. UPS is wholeheartedly committed to diversity, equity and inclusion,” UPS said in a statement. They also said they contacted the family to apologize.

But the Aviles family is still rattled that such bigoted people are out and about, letting their petty prejudices effect other people’s lives.

“The package was a Christmas gift that we eventually received after Christmas Day, but what if it happened to have time-sensitive content like an epipen or a book I needed to take a final,” said Shirley Aviles, the mother of the man who lives at the address, told NBC News. “I don’t get it. It’s just sad.”

Aviles seemed disturbed about what this incident says about human nature. “This is about the things people do when they think no one is watching them. That’s important because that’s when you see people’s true colors and that’s what’s scary,”

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Here Are Some Christmas Traditions From Around Latin America

Culture

Here Are Some Christmas Traditions From Around Latin America

Henry Sadura / Getty Images

Christmas is a special time of year. Families have their traditions to mark the festive year and some of those traditions are rooted in culture. Here are some of the ways various countries in Latin America celebrate Christmas.

El Pase Del Niño Viajero – Ecuador

El Pase del Niño Viajero is a pageant that happens in Ecuador that lasts weeks. The parade is meant to represent the journey of Mary and Joseph. The parade highlights the religious importance of Christmas in Ecuador and is most common in the Andean region of the country.

The biggest and most important parade is in Cuenca, a deeply religious city. Citizens near the city have all day to see the parade as it starts in the early morning and runs through the late afternoon. This gives people a lot of time to make it to the city to witness the parade.

La Gritería – Nicaragua

La Gritería comes after La Purisma. La Purisma is celebrated at the end of November and is meant to celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary. La Gritería is celebrated in early December and involves literal yelling. Someone would shout “Que causa tanta alegria?” (“What causes so much happiness?”) People respond “La Concepción de María.” (“Mary’s Conception.”)

Las Posadas – Mexico

Mexican posadas are the most recognizable. Posadas take place in Mexico from Dec. 16-24, though this year they are most likely to be virtual. The posada begins with a procession in the neighborhood filled with people singing and sometimes led by two people dressed as Mary and Joseph.

Another part is the posada party. Before guests can enter, there is a song exchange with the people outside playing Joseph looking for shelter. The hosts sing the side of the innkeeper saying there is no room. Eventually, the guests are welcomed into the home to celebrate Christmas.

Aguinaldos – Colombia

Aguinaldos are a series of games played by people in Colombia leading up to Christmas. There are certain games that are common among people in Colombia. One is pajita en boca, which requires holding a straw in your mouth the entire time of a social event. Another is dar y no recibir, which is about getting people to take something you are giving to score a point.

El Quema Del Diablo – Guatemala

El quema del diablo is celebrated in early December and is a way of letting go of the previous year. People burn piñatas and effigies of the devil to let go of all negative feelings and moments from the previous year. If there was every to try a new tradition, this would be the year. Burn an effigy and banish 2020 to the past, where it belongs.

READ: These Seriously Sad Christmas Presents Were Worse Than Actual Coal

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