Culture

Give Your Vegan Family Members Something To Eat At Noche Buena With These Amazing Dishes

Hola, hi, thank you so much for coming. Dear reader, I’ll be your vegan guide to an easy Noche Buena, where herbivores and omnivores alike leave happy. With Latinos being one of the fastest growing demographic of vegans, we know that you probably have at least a few more at your dinner table this year. I promise that most of us don’t even have any expectation that the host is going to accommodate our dietary needs. We’re Latinos, too, so we’re coming with a lot of baggage and guilt for the impending scene of turning down your food at Noche Buena. We really don’t want you to take it personally if it does happen.

The pressure is always on for the Noche Buena cena, but it doesn’t have to be any extra stress to invite your newly vegan prima.

CREDIT: @VeganNigerian / Twitter

You’re already making tostones, yucca, and mad mojo sauce. Here’s the thing. Vegans eat todo, except for animal products. So that means no meat, no eggs or dairy, boom. Think about how much of the food you make that is just straight up plants, , ice and beans. Facil.

Also white meat is still meat.

CREDIT: @CarDadReviews / Twitter

I can’t tell you how many times a sweet, sweet vieja offered me pollo after I told them ‘no como carne.’ I leave this truth that chicken is not a white vegetable with you either for some honest to God info or for laughs.

Your guest will probably bring one of these:

CREDIT: @fieldroast / Instagram

It’s called a vegan roast, and you can grab it at any Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s. If you have and extra $15 to spare, it would blow your vegan’s mind to just have one of these ready. But don’t worry, here are a few things you could do exactly like normal and be the hostess with the mostest.

Ponche is puro vegan.

CREDIT: @PresleysPantry / Twitter

Cinnamon, apples, guava, y nada de animales. Oh, and rum is vegan too. Salud.

While we’re at it, coquito will never disappoint anyone.

CREDIT: @valkyrie_art / Twitter

The only coquito I know is made with coconut milk and it’s the only coquito I want to know. Why? It’s rico, and vegan.

Tostones are plants, yay! ????

CREDIT: @Rnbfeelgood / Twitter

Even though we all know, spiritually, tostones are manna from heaven. Physically, they come from the plátano tree. Praise tostones.

Beans are the moneyyy.

CREDIT: @celisemccarthy / Twitter

Even if you make your beans using pork fat, just pop open a can of Goya beans and heat them up. Your vegan will shed tears of gratitude (if they know what’s good for them).

Then, there are simple solutions to automatically veganize a few other dishes.

CREDIT: @thekitchn / Twitter

No first time vegan even thinks to ask about what stock you used and no long-time vegan will bother asking, because we get that it’s not the first thing on hosts’ minds. This simple swap will make some hearty dishes vegan, so your guest can fill up.

Pozole, por siempre.

CREDIT: @chicanoeats / Twitter

We can’t imagine a Noche Buena sin pozole and you don’t have to veganize the whole dish. Just set aside the chili paste and garnishes and let the veganita fill their bowl with veggie broth.

A major move is to just tell everyone what’s vegan and what’s not. You never know who the closet vegan is.

CREDIT: “Arroz Verde Green Rice | This green rice, or arroz verde, is so rich and full of flavor… not to mention the vibrant green color! You can pair this rice with any main dish! | http://thechunkychef.com” Digital Image. The Chunky Chef. 10 November 2018.

It’s super uncomfortable to ask any host the ingredients in their food. My first Noche Buena vegan, my mom was so sweet in replacing the chicken stock in her famous rice with veggie stock.

Instead of using dairy butter, just sub it with Earth Balance.

CREDIT: @Earth_Balance / Twitter

You truly won’t be able to taste the difference, and everyone’s bellies will thank you, too. Cholesterol can only be found in animal-based products, so your brother with the high blood pressure will thank you, too.

Don’t try to convince them to eat something porque “solo hay un poquito de mantequilla.”

CREDIT: @ohsnapitslili_ / Twitter

That works on your sister whose forever trying to diet, but, for vegans, the choice is based on a moral obligation for either animals, the planet, workers’ rights or their own health. Take their choices seriously and respect them, especially if they’re respecting yours.

Substitute milk with coconut milk in the champurrado.

CREDIT: @CoffeeFestShow / Twitter

I was lactose intolerant long before I went vegan, and I promise there are more of us around than you’d think. Most of us are in denial but you’ll be able to smell them a mile away later in the evening. Spare yourself.

Or if some dishes must be made with butter, just leave the butter on the side for folks to add themselves.

CREDIT: “Mashed Yuca with Mojo” Digital Image. Eating Well. 10 November 2018.

For every vegan, there’s a tío with a stomach of steel that’ll happily eat twice as much. Remember, somos Latinos. Nothing goes to waste.

One strategy is to skip assembling the sopes and let your guests do it themselves.

CREDIT: @bIueberryswamp / Twitter

That way everyone’s varying dietary needs can be met to suit them. Or maybe they just prefer ropa vieja instead of picadillo on their sope.

Are you my new mom and making mofongo this Noche Buena?

CREDIT: @veggiejeva / Twitter

Numbero uno: adopt me.

Numero dos: set the plantain base aside and let your veganos load up with all that delicious rice and beans you cooked up.

Don’t forget to remember what cooking oils you’re using.

CREDIT: @sall3n / Twitter

I know my tía will only cook with pork fat and understandably can’t remember if she fried the yucca in pork or coconut oil. These little details can open up your incredible cooking to the whole party.

Oh man, let’s talk pasteles.

CREDIT: @vickyscatering / Instagram

The holiest of foods. Frijoles or simply sofrito are always an easy, delicious filling. You can just tie them with a differently colored string and prepare to be adored and glorified.

Don’t forget dessert!

CREDIT: @santiac217 / Twitter

Another simple substitute like coconut milk in the arroz con leche instead of milk will make you a top level host. Just tell the family you’re making it Boricua style y por que no. Coconut milk is naturally sweeter than dairy milk, so the dessert will be sweeter and less heavy, perfect for your very stuffed guests.

Ultimately, only go as far as you want to to accommodate the vegans and vegetarians.

CREDIT: Will Ferrel Eating Gif / GIPHY

Don’t reach the point of resentment because, promise, it’s what we’re all most afraid of at family gatherings. We just want everyone to be happy, and usually bring food that will make us happy. Whether you make vegan pasteles or just tell the vegans that these three dishes are vegan, we’ll be happy. Because contrary to how we’re all raised, your self-worth isn’t in the food you make. We love you for reading this!


READ: Latino Food Is Getting The Vegan Makeover Thanks To These 11 Southern California Restaurants

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Tamales Elena Is About To Become LA’s First Afro-Mexican Restaurant

Culture

Tamales Elena Is About To Become LA’s First Afro-Mexican Restaurant

tamaleselenayantojitos / Instagram

The Los Angeles food truck Tamales Elena y Antojitos has been serving up authentic Guerrero food for 20 years. Tamales Elena y Antojitos is a staple at E 110th St. & Wilmington Ave. in LA’s Watts neighborhood offering up banana leaf-wrapped tamales. Now, Tamales Elena y Antojitos will become a restaurant.

Tamales Elena y Antojitos is opening up LA’s first Afro-Mexican restaurant.

Not even a pandemic will slow them down. The family behind the famous food truck in Watts will soon be welcoming guests (following COVID-19 guidelines) in Bell Gardens, California. The tamales, pozoles, and array of Afro-Mexican dishes will be served to everyone who has come to adore the Mexican establishment.

The restaurant will add another cuisine to the vast palate that is LA’s food scene.

Los Angeles is home to a diverse and inviting list of restaurants representing cultures from around the world. Some of the best Mexican food in the country can be found in Los Angeles and Tamales Elena y Antojitos is adding another level to that representation. Angelenos are celebrating the Afro-Mexican restaurant staffed and owned by Afro-Mexicans.

The restaurant has a special place in people’s lives.

The family has been offering up their unique food to residents of Watts for 20 years. In two weeks, Maria Elena Lorenzo will be offering up her family recipes in-store to more people as of July 15. The family has spent years in the food industry and have worked hard to make their mark on LA’s food scene.

Lorenzo’s daughters have been played a big role in getting the restaurant going.

According to LA Eater, Lorenzo’s daughters have spent years working in various restaurants around Los Angeles. Her daughters, Maria, Heidi, Judepth, Teresa, and Nayeli spent time working front-of-house and back-of-house at restaurants including Rivera, Petty Cash Taqueria, and Guerrilla Tacos. Heidi Irra worked at Mezcalero in downtown Los Angeles. Now, the daughters are bringing their experience to the family business and helping their mother start her restaurant.

Lorenzo, lovingly known as Mama, is clearly going to have a lot of guests are her restaurant.

Congratulations, Mama! This is one of those stories we love to see. Nothing makes you prouder than watching Latino families come together to chase the American Dream and succeed.

READ: Guelaguetza, One Of LA’s Most Iconic Mexican Restaurants, Is Sharing Some Of Their Recipes On Instagram

Little Caesars Hands Customer Pizza With Pepperoni Swastika Made As ‘Insensitive Joke’

Things That Matter

Little Caesars Hands Customer Pizza With Pepperoni Swastika Made As ‘Insensitive Joke’

@LaskaMisty / Twitter

One Ohio couple recently received an order for a pizza that’ll leave a pretty rancid taste in your mouth.

After running errands with his wife Misty Laska this past Saturday night, Jason Laska said they picked up a pepperoni pizza from Little Caesars. Eager to eat they cracked open the pizza once they got home, receiving a shocking surprise that likely ruined their appetite.

Misty noticed a backward laid swastika made out of pepperoni slices on the pie.

After getting in touch with Little Caesars, the couple was told it was meant to be a funny and private joke.

According to The New York Times, when Misty Laska first opened the takeaway pizza she noticed that it was not sliced. Then, she and her husband realized that the pepperoni pieces had been prepared in the shape of a swastika.

Misty told Reuters that when they first realized what they saw they were “just silent.” Furious, they returned to the store to return the pizza, the shop was closed. The next day, the pizza chain, which is the third-largest in the country called, to apologize.

“We have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in any form, and these franchise store employees were immediately terminated,” Little Caesars told The New York Times. “This conduct is completely against our values.”

“That’s why it was not cut or anything like that,” Jason Laska said. “They made it as a joke and it was never intended to go out to a customer.”

However, even if the joke was meant to be a private one it is gross and unacceptable.

“Even in a joking manner, it’s absolutely unacceptable,” Jason Laska added.

Jill Proctor, a spokesperson for Little Caesars confirmed the incident and said that the employees involved were fired in a statement to CNN. “We have zero tolerance for racism and discrimination in any form, and these franchise store employees were immediately terminated. We’re deeply disappointed that this happened, as this conduct is completely against our values,” Proctor continued. “We have also reached out to the customer to discuss this personally with him.”

In response to the firing of the employees, Misty has said she hopes they are learning an important lesson.”These are the kinds of things that are continuing to fuel the hate and the confusion that exists in the country and in the world,” her husband said after sharing that they both hope

The Laskas hoped that by sharing their experience others will educate themselves about Nazism and the symbols used to perpetuate it.