Culture

We Are Already Craving These Delicious And Decadent Noche Buena Dishes

I don’t care what time of year it is–I’m always emocionada for the shockingly massive piles of food that reach my plate at the holidays. Whether you feast on Christmas Day, Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) or every day of the year, you’re guaranteed get nostalgic (and very hungry) previewing your menu this year. Promise, this is what you’re eating.

If you’re Mexican, there will be pozole.

@mexicanfoodmem / Twitter

I mean, there will always be pozole, no matter the time of year, but at the holidays, your mami might actually buy raw hominy instead of the can. It’s a special occasion.

Tamales are always the showstopper.

@nuestravisionMX / Twitter

For two days before Christmas, there are half a dozen tias dancing up a storm in the kitchen. If you look closely enough, you realize they’re actually prepping and cooking a hundred tamales for the biggest family dinner of the year.

Or, if you’re Puerto Rican, you’ll eat pasteles.

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Instead of corn, platanos verdes are used for the masa and stuff them with all the sofrito and pork available. Boiled banana leaves hold it all together instead of corn husks to wrap them.

Island gente will have ropa vieja.

@_a3m_ / Instagram

Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, are all about this shredded beef dish. Just looking at it makes me miss my abuela and the most exciting times of my childhood: when we were eating her ropa vieja.

Of course, dinner will be at the house con la caja china.

@triumphando / Instagram

It’s the most effective and delicious way to slow roast a shocking amount of animal flesh for the family festivities. Cuidado, because sometimes the neighbors get a whiff and just invite themselves in.

The main dish will be lechón.

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As a kid, it was mildly disturbing, but the adults just tell you to move past it because it’s all the sabroso. Eventually, you stop naming the pig and just dig in.

Venezuelans crush the Pan de Jamón

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Speaking of jamón, Venezuelans know how to combine the best flavors into one single bite. It doesn’t matter where you come from, if the panadería is selling, you’re buying this pan.

Ensalada de Gallina will be the only salad at the table.

Untitled. Digital Image. PopSugar. 25 September 2018.

Another Venezolana classic, it’s not Navidad without this tasty potato salad. Unlike the kind you’d find at an American grocery store, this one includes pollo, carrots, peas, green apple, and pineapple. We put la fruta in everything.

Every Latino meal will have some version of Moros y Cristianos.

Untitled. Digital Image. PopSugar. 25 September 2018.

Call it gallo pinto, arroz con frijoles, moros y cristianos, cualquiera: Latinos make it best. More specifically, we make it in a 10 gallon massive pot and hope for leftovers. The next morning, we fry an egg on top and it’s perfección.

Boricuas will have arroz con gandules on deck.

@SimplyTodayLife / Twitter

We’re here for the saffron, pigeon peas and olives. It’s gallo pinto for breakfast and arroz con gandules for all the other special occasions.

Buñelos con Almíbar de Vino y Canela everywhere.

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Pretty much all of us have some version of this crispy, sweet, doughy pastry. Don’t even call this a donut hole.

You can’t have a buñelo sin champurrado.

@pacificfoods / Twitter

It’s basically Mexican hot chocolate but there’s nothing basic about it. It’s thick, it’s spicy and it’s secret ingredient is masarica and cinnamon.

Of course, someone’s going to bring ponche.

@MelissasProduce / Twitter
Rice and fruta: we put it in everything. Our punch is better than yours because we have guava, tejocotes y flor de jamaica. And we made tequila happen.

Somehow, Panettone is always available.

@plantbased_fede / Twitter

Panettone was brought from Italy to South America and we have reclaimed it as our Latin fruitcake. Every Miami supermarket carries them and every Latino in Miami has a slice on noche buena.

If you’re Cuban, you already know what follows this picture:

@Smrtqbn / Twitter

It’s Crème de Vie, the Cuban version of eggnog. They’re real heavy on the Bacardí.

Mientras, Boricuas can’t get enough of coquito.

@PuertoRicoPUR / Twitter

The main difference between coquito and crèma de vie is that Puerto Ricans used condensed coconut milk instead of cow’s milk. We’re dairy intolerant.

That arroz con leche though.

@puntonieve.arroz / Instagram

Latinos cannot have a single meal without rice, not even dessert. Everyone makes it a little different, but I always make it with coconut milk and heavy on the canela.

Natillas are basically Latino Christmas pudding.

@postresfacilesyricos_ / Instagram-natillas

Please hold while I collect my drool. Sometimes called Dulce de Leche, this is basically a thick, creamy vanilla cinnamon custard. Galletas required.

Last but far from least: flan

@stefany_dct / Instagram

It’s the dessert that you’ve never made but love to eat. Thankfully your abuela and tías continue to bring it to every party. It’s not that I don’t think I can make it, it’s that I’m afraid to make it without a flock of Latinos to help me eat it.

Oh, but it’s not over yet.

Literally one week later, we gather again for Rosca de Reyes.

@ana_abularach / Twitter

January 6 is Three Kings Day and you’re forbidden from taking down Christmas decorations until after the three kings have come to visit baby Jesús. Of course, it’s just another excuse to plan another family celebration because whoever gets the slice with the baby figurine in it has to host the next dinner. Tamales required.


READ: Mole Is One Of The Most Recognizable Foods In The World. Here’s How It Came To Be

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Nopales, The OG Ancestral Food We’ve Been Eating Since Waaaay Before Plant Based Foods Became Trendy

Culture

Nopales, The OG Ancestral Food We’ve Been Eating Since Waaaay Before Plant Based Foods Became Trendy

I can literally talk food until my babas drip. Don’t judge. The comelón life chose me and I’m not mad at it. Because growing up Latino meant breakfast wasn’t always cereal, and dinner wasn’t always mac and cheese. I grew up con más sabor en mis platillos than most Americans. And, at the time, I didn’t even realize that many of the foods my family was trying to get me to eat were ancestral foods. From chocolate to cocoa and chia to nopalitos, I blame los ancestros for my obsession with food and all the glorious ingredients that have been passed down for generations.

My knees already feel weak, fam, because today I’m gonna be talking nopalitos. Ya me estoy chupando los dedos, thinking back to how I grew up with these babies always in the refri in that Nopalitos jar, ready to be thrown into a sauce or encima de una carne asada. It turns out this soul-feeding food is one of the OG ancestral foods that have been used by our people for thousands of years. Ahí les va un poco de historia:

The Mexica introduced the world to the “fruit of the Earth.”

In Náhuatl, the word for nopal translates to “fruit of the Earth.” I don’t know what the Náhuatl word for “bomb-delicioso” is, but in my opinion, that should also be the name for nopales. And the Aztecs must have felt this way too because one of the most famous cities in the Aztec Empire – Tenochtitlán, the empire’s religious center – was named “prickly pear on a rock.” Iconic.

According to legend, the city was built after an Azteca priest spotted an eagle perched on a nopal plant, carrying a snake in its mouth. The priest, obviously extremadamente blown away by this, ran back to his village just so he could gather everyone to check out this crazy eagle with a snake in its mouth. As they watched, the cactus beneath the eagle grew into an island – eventually becoming Tenochtitlán. I’ll give you 3 seconds to just process that. 1…2…3. Please take more time if you need it. The image of the eagle carrying a snake, its golden talons perched on a nopal growing from a rock, can now be found on the Mexican flag.

Today, we know that the Mexica were right to call nopales the plant of life.

In Mexico, it’s still common to place a handful of nopal flowers in a bath to help relax achy muscles. And nopales are becoming more popular than ever in beauty treatments to help fight aging. But, y’all are too beautiful to be needing them for that, so let’s talk about what’s important — eating them.

There are so many ways you can mix this iconic ingredient into your meals.

We should all be eating our green foods. Your tía, your abuela, your primo, everyone…except your ex. Your ex can eat basura. I said what I said. But, nopalitos are especially important. These tenacious desert plants can be eaten raw, sautéed, pickled, grilled – they’re even used as pizza toppings. Though for some people, nopales – with their spines and texture – can be intimidating. After cutting off the spines and edges, and cutting them into slices, they will bleed a clear slime. But boiling for 20 minutes will take care of that. Or make it even easier on yourself and avoid espinas by buying them all ready-to-go from the brand we all know and love, DOÑA MARIA® Nopalitos.

Check it out, I’m even gonna hook it up with that good-good, because if you’re looking for ways to enjoy your nopales, I got’chu with some starter links to recipes: Hibiscus and Nopal Tacos, Nopal Tostadas, Roasted Nopales con Mole, and Lentil Soup con Nopales.  One of my personal favorite ways to eat them is in a beautiful Cactus Salad, full of color and flavor. Trust. I rate these dishes 10 out of 10, guaranteed to make your babas drip, and when you eat this ensalada de nopalitos, you will remember even your ancestors were dripping babas over this waaay before it was cool to eat plant-based foods.

So let’s give the poderoso nopal the spotlight it deserves by adding it to our shopping lists more often.

Rich in history, mythology, and practical uses, the nopal’s enduring popularity is a testament to its versatility. It’s time to give this classic ingredient the respect it deserves and recognize just how chingon our ancestors are for making nopales fire before plantbase foods were even trending.

Next time you’re at the supermercado, do your ancestors proud and add nopales to your shopping cart by picking up a jar of DOÑA MARIA® Nopalitos. This easy-to-use food will definitely give you a major boost of pride in your roots. Viva los nopalitos bay-beh!

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Show Mom How Much You Love Her With These Sweet Mother’s Day Gifts

Culture

Show Mom How Much You Love Her With These Sweet Mother’s Day Gifts

Mother’s Day is just one of the days in the year when we show our mom how much we love her. She gave us life and isn’t shy about reminding us. Why not make this day a little special with a nice gift? Here’s a little guide to get you started. Use code momdaywam2021 for a discount on all of your mom merch!

Love You Mom Mug | $14.99 – $17.99

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There was nothing more dreadful than not being able to find something. You just knew that when you asked your mom for help that it came with a lot of strings attached. The mere idea of mom searching and finding it sent us into a wild frenzy trying to find it before she got to the room.

This mug is the perfect reminder of those mildly scary moments of missing remotes and socks. Now, as an adult, you can all look back and laugh because it isn’t that scary anymore, right? 😨

Nadie Me Ayuda En Esta Casa | $24.99

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You can’t forget this absolute classic. This shirt is one of the most relatable gifts you can give your mother. She is always doing everything for everyone and no one wants to help. This shirt will show that you acknowledge that you don’t do enough and appreciate just how hard she works.

Now, this doesn’t mean you can stay not helping. Let this be the start of you changing some of your own practices and helping your mom around the house. it is never too late.

Mom, Ma, Ama, Madre, Mujer Mug | $19.99

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A nice little mug with mom in all the ways we say it is just a nice addition to your mom’s coffee mug collection. It will definitely bring a smile to her face every time she sees it because it just shows how much you are thinking of her.

Pregúntale A Tu Papá Tee | $24.99 – $26.99

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How many times have you heard your mom say this? It is never when you need to find something because dad never knows where to find stuff. That is just a cold hard fact about life in a Latino household. This was always posed to you when you asked mom to go to a sleepover or anything that required approval.

This will not only make your mom laugh, but dad will chuckle as well. After all, he knows that his word is only as good as his vieja will let it be. Lol.

Best Amá Ever Mug | $14.99 – $17.99

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Let your mom brag all the time, any time. This mug is perfect for her to take to work so that everyone in her office sees that she is, indeed, the best amá ever. I’m sure that people will think that their mom is the best but you know that your mom is the best. This will soon be the ultimate status symbol.

Quiero Nietos Unisex Tee | $24.99 – $27.99

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We all know that mom (and dad) can’t wait to have nietos to spoil endlessly. This shirt will give them a physical way to constantly remind you that they can’t wait for those little ones. You might regret giving her a shirt that she can wear every time you go to visit her but she will love it. Maybe it is just a quick laugh but we all know that she will wear it to manifest her nietos.

Esta Casa No Es Hotel Poster | $16.99 – $19.99

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Help your mom decorate the house with her own sense of humor. The poster will give your mom a reference to point to when people ask her for too much. Like, learn the house. Find your own towels. Get your own juice. Room service and hotel-level work is not happening in this house. You got legs, arms, and claim to be a grown up.

Happy anniversary to all of the mothers, abuelas, tías, and mother figures in the world.

READ: Vanessa Bryant Celebrates Like A Proud Mom As Daughter Natalia Announces She’s Going To USC

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