26 Signs You Grew Up Puerto Rican AF
Whether you grew up in the home isla, Miami or Alaska, when you grow up Puerto Rican, we might as well be from the same family. TBH, we’re probably cousins.
Have a healthy fear of your mom’s moods? Puerto Rican. Can you dance merengue and eat it, too? Puerto Rican. I could go on.
1. Saying hi to your family at every holiday.
Be prepared to be greeted with open arms, all the hugs and kisses on each cheek. You have 147 cousins, so the parties go on till the morning.
2. You don’t play dominoes.
You compete at longanas, and you expect your mom to cheat or make up a new rule halfway through. You also have a sneaking suspicion that your abuelita is an evil genius who could win every time but is an actual angel so she lets someone else win.
3. You had a janky Barney at your party.
And your parents swear you had a good time, but the home videos prove otherwise. The only thing I was caught saying on video was, “Barney sucio.”
4. You had this bracelet with your name on it.
It’s how they kept track of all us screaming Latino kids on the playground. This is practical AF and the tradition will live on, IMO.
5. You had your ears pierced when you were 5 seconds old.
I swear there is not a single photo of me without gold studs. Does Miami-Dade hospital have an infant ear piercer on call?
6. You also started drinking café con leche when you were an infant.
And it was all about soaking the cracker for as long as you could without it falling to the bottom.
7. You know who el Cuco is but have no idea what they look like.
Is she an alligator or a boogeyman? IDK, except for that she’s always watching to see if I’m behaving, and if I don’t, she’s going to eat me. Growing up Puerto Rican means growing up scared… like all the time.
8. Chancletas were child’s play.
The most terrifying phrase, “Do you want the belt?” We all give our mom’s shit for it at Christmas but low key, I don’t own a belt.
9. Marc Anthony and J.Lo were also your parents.
When they split up, it was a global life event for every Puerto Rican on the Earth. You remember your mom or tia crying and questioning their own marriages if the Puerto Rican Royalty couldn’t make it.
10. You know not to leave a single fork in the sink.
“Nadie me alman.” “If you loved me, you wouldn’t disrespect me like this.” “No, now I know how you really think of me.”
For real, we all started mothering our mothers when we were children. Including my own mom con su mama.
11. The Cuban Mop is universally accepted as the only way to clean a house.
When I moved out and bought a steam mop, my mom flipped her shit. “Nothing works as well as the Cuban mop, Dani, c’mon.” Spoiler: she admitted that she likes the steam mop now. But she’ll never buy one when she has a perfectly good Cuban mop.
12. All your pots and pans were in the oven.
And cutting boards, and strainers, and basically anything that could fit. It’s fine though because you pretty much fried all your food.
13. Like bacalítos y croquetas.
There is nada ni nadie as comforting as a lime-doused codfish fritter with jamón croquetas. Oh, and you know not to ever turn down a second helping of arroz con gandules or any other food or risk deeply offending your mother.
14. You don’t need an oven because you roasted the pig outside.
He’s going to have arroz con frijoles stuffed up his culo and you’re going to eat it, entiende?
15. You can’t remember not drinking coqui at the holidays.
Your earliest memory is when you were 6 years old and the family watched you for your reaction and then exploded with, “ayyyy” when you pretended to like the taste of rum. Puerto Ricans don’t follow silly American laws.
16. You know not to even whisper “mofongo” unless it is immediately available.
Or risk getting slapped upside the head for teasing your mother. Then, you’ll have to comfort them while they throw a tantrum for trying to make fools out of them.
17. Everything tastes like the Pickapeppa brown sauce.
It’s her not-so-secret sauce for arroz con habichuelas, pot roast, picadillo, todo y todo. At least, if you’re from Miami and your boricua mom married a Jamaican. 😛 Either way, there was mango in your food.
18. One shelf of your fridge was dedicated to homemade sofrito.
Your mom made this in bulk because this was your actual base for all your food. I grew up in Miami, so the ajices dulces and culantro were easy to pick up but since moving, it’s still rico without it.
19. Vienna sausages were life.
If your mom could open a can and make it into a pot before me or my brothers could eat them straight from the can, it was a win. Weekend mornings were the best because you knew you were getting some sautéed sausages and leftover crispy rice for breakfast.
20. Another favorite breakfast food was arroz con huevo frito.
As kids, this was the No. 1 ultimate comfort food. The yolk would run through all the white rice and then we felt fancy for having arroz amarillo. 💅
21. We cannot forget the “Egg in the Hole” brekkie.
A buttered crispy toast and egg all in one?! I honestly don’t know which one is more satisfying because they were equally as exciting as kids.
22. You probably had at least two of these in your house.
Don’t call it a mortar and pestle, because it’s just not. It’s a pilón and the plantain-based food that must not be named is served in it. I’m upsetting myself just thinking about it.
23. These merengue cookies were everywhere.
You had to buy a box of merengue every day for a family of five, but this giant tin of cookies felt bottomless, y gracias a Dios por eso. Oh, and nobody speaks Spanish or English. It’s Spanglish, mami.
24. You also had an emergency stock of banana peppers.
Your pantry was ready for the next hurricane at all times. Twelve jars of vienna sausages and at least six jars of banana peppers. Isn’t the rule for emergencies to have a week’s supply? 👅
25. You were shocked to find masa in tamales after growing up with pasteles puertoriqueño.
Made from yucca, olives and, of course, sofrito, and wrapped in a boiled banana leaf, these have a totally different flavor than Mexican tamales. When you brought them to your white school and friends asked if you were Mexican, you were also afraid your face would freeze in an eye roll. It’s what your mamma taught you.
26. Your abuelita slayed at making flan.
Every time we went over, she had flan for us and even though we were stuffed from being forced to eat two full plates of picadillo, a jar of banana peppers, and arroz con habichuelas, we eagerly ate up the flan. When you’re Puerto Rican, there’s always room for dessert. 🇵🇷