Culture

How This Non-Mexican Became The Biggest Spicy Food Lover

A lot of non-Latinos assume we all love spicy food and are born with chilis in our mouth, and well, that’s not true. For some of us, our cuisine is more centered around fried corns and flour with cheese, leaving us having to learn the ways of spicy food the hard way. But, for me, the journey was delicious.

My parents are from Colombia and Ecuador, two countries not typically known to have super spicy dishes.

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Not at all.

Growing up, we didn’t have hot sauce bottles in the house. We mostly had garlic. A lot of it.

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As a Miami girl that ate a lot of Cuban food, I can tell you that Cuban food doesn’t have much spice either.

Typical meals included a lot of rice, arepas, platanos, potatoes and grains.

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A lot of their dishes tend to be carb-heavy.

My idea of adding zest to meals was piling on the CHEESE.

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But I definitely had a thing for green peppers and cilantro.

When I first had Mexican, Indian or other spicy food, I generally stayed away from the salsas, assuming they’d be too hot.

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(They usually were.)

People would meet my dislike for spicy food with, “But aren’t you Latina?”

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I know, I know. I’m supposed to be super spicy and crafted out of jalapeños. Sorry to disappoint!

In high school, I started exploring Tabasco and Sriracha along with my friends…

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I became all about hot wings, and thought, “This isn’t bad!”

And then, I met Cholula and Tapatío.

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It was just perfect for my unaccustomed taste buds.

I became that person that carries hot sauce with them everywhere.

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No shame.

On my next trips to South America, I always had to ask for hot sauce.

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…Which was usually sitting on some forgotten table, looking untouched for at least two years.

But the ají was usually jus cilantro, garlic and lime.

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Although, that little aji for empanadas DID have a kick.

My family found it very important to tell everyone, “she puts hot sauce on everything!”

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She was so proud.

However, I do recognize my limits…

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Like when my doctor said I should actually cut back, so… I stocked up on the Tums.

And although I still love the food I traditionally grew up with…

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Nothing beats it.

A little drop of salsita doesn’t hurt, right?

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Never.


READ: Misconception: Not All Latinos Can Handle Spicy Food And Here’s Why

Did you grow up not liking spicy and now can’t get enough of it? Which Latino dishes do you think are better with spice? Let us know!

Nickelodeon Wants Kids To See More Multicultural And Diverse Content, So They’re Launching Mexican-Inspired Show “The Casagrandes”

Entertainment

Nickelodeon Wants Kids To See More Multicultural And Diverse Content, So They’re Launching Mexican-Inspired Show “The Casagrandes”

TheCasaGrandes / Instagram

Nickelodeon announced this year that the network wants to focus on giving kids a more “multicultural, authentic and diverse” array of programming that will reflect modern kids’ everyday lives. The kids’ outlet plans to serve just that, in “The Casagrandes,” a companion series to its animated mainstay, “The Loud House,” about a small boy and his many sisters. The new program will follow Lincoln Loud’s friend Ronnie Anne and her brother Bobby Santiago living in the city with a chaotic multi-generational family. 

The kids’ network is actively working on bringing diversity to children through their programming.

According to Cyma Zarghami, president of the company’s Nickelodeon Group and a kids-media veteran; Nickelodeon will be focusing on series that present broader families and more characters from a broader array of backgrounds, said Zarghami, noting that modern kids want to see shows that mirror the people in their lives. “Multicultural, authentic and diverse,” are the themes they seek, she added.

“The Casagrandes” is a spinoff of Nickelodeon’s animated hit mainstay show “The Loud House”. 

Credit: theloudhousecartoon / Instagram

Children who watch Nickelodeon on the regular, will be familiar with Ronnie Anne from the hit series, “The Loud House,” which is similar to “The Casagrandes” in that they both navigate a kid’s life surrounded by a large family. The new show however, will add diversity to the network in terms of race. “The loud house” does so with gender, by focusing on a boy named Lincoln Loud living with his family of 10 sisters —all of whom have different personalities and ambitions which break with female stereotypes.

With “The Casagrandes”, Nickelodeon is taking the next step towards diversity by exploring a female character more deeply. 

On “The Loud House” Ronnie Anne Santiago is a character frequently presented as a tough tomboy figure who dislikes girly things. As the show progresses thought, the audience finds out that she is actually very sensitive and kind. Her brother, Bobby Santiago Jr. is also a recurring character as the boyfriend of Lori Loud, Lincoln’s sister. Roberto “Bobby” Santiago Jr. will be playing a much larger role in “The Casagrandes.”

Nickelodeon teased the new show during an episode of “The Loud House”.

Credit: thecasagrandes / Instagram

The network teased the upcoming spinoff in a recent episode of “The Loud House,” which was entirely about Ronnie Anne and Bobby, rather than Lincoln Loud, the protagonist of the series. In the episode, Ronnie Anne and her brother move to their extended family’s apartment in the city, which rests on top of a bodega. 

At first, Ronnie Anne is reticent about moving since she’s used to living with her small family of three. Soon she adjusts to living with all her relatives under one roof. The episode, which served as an introduction to Ronnie Anne’s extended family, is also an introduction to Latino culture. Throughout the episode, the show makes references that resonate with Latinos everywhere, such as the way that Ronnie Anne’s abuelita ‘Rosa’, persists on her family members and guests eating until they’re completely stuffed. 

The show makes many references to Latino culture and traditions through relatable characters like ‘Rosa’, the family’s abuela.

The overbearing grandmother is a Latino stereotype that largely, seems to be true to most Latinos, and a lot of Latinx children in the audience might be able to relate. The episode plays with that idea by having Rosa go way overboard with her cooking anytime someone mentions they’re hungry. Rosa also frequently makes home remedies when someone in her family gets hurt —another reference to the Latino community and the all too familiar ‘remedios caseros’ we have to endure when grandma finds out we have a tummy-ache or a fever. 

Lincoln and his family live in a suburban, mostly white-predominant town, while Ronnie Anne will be living in an urban area, surrounded by people of multicultural backgrounds. In the episode that teased the upcoming show “Los Casagrandes”, Ronnie Anne makes friends with several kids in the city, many of whom are also people of color. “Los Casagrandes” will reflect the city life by situating characters in different parts of the city. The Casagrande apartment and the family’s bodega, will be found in the Spanish-speaking neighborhoods.

Ronnie Anne, the protagonist, offers an intersectional lens on what it means to be both female and a POC.

By having Ronnie Anne as a protagonist, the show will offer an intersectional lens on what it’s like to explore her life as both a female and a person of color. In similar fashion to “The Loud House”, the characters will have diverse personalities, but instead of seeing the identities and narratives through female characters as seen through Lincoln Loud’s 10 sisters, the new show will present differences through Latino characters, specifically characters of Mexican culture. 

“The Casagrandes,” premieres Monday, Oct. 14, at 1:30 p.m. ET/PT before moving to its regular timeslot on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. beginning on Oct. 19.

A Newly Restored Version of The 90s ‘Selena’ Classic Film Starring Jennifer Lopez Is Coming To The Big Screen Again

Entertainment

A Newly Restored Version of The 90s ‘Selena’ Classic Film Starring Jennifer Lopez Is Coming To The Big Screen Again

Selena /Warner Bros.

Twenty-two years have passed since Latinas across the globe watched in awe as Jennifer Lopez took on the role of Tejano music icon Selena in the biopic of her life. The 1997 classic lovingly spotlighted the singer’s life and death years ago and, in the years since, has been a sort of cultural Latino touchstone for young girls who didn’t have the chance to grow up watching the singer herself.

Now, young Latinas who didn’t get to see the classic in the theaters during its original release will have a chance to do just that this weekend.

The Brooklyn Academy of Music has announced that it will screen a new digital print of the film in theaters this weekend.

Back in 1997, when the film was originally released, “Selena” spent fifteen weeks at the box office. It’s time in theaters proved that Latinos could not only direct films, but they could star in them as well while also drawing massive audiences to movie theater seats. At the time, the film marked a breakout moment for actress, singer, and dancer Jennifer Lopez.

If you’re in NYC this weekend and plan on attending the screening, here are some fun facts to remember while watching!

Fans of Selena protested when they learned Jennifer Lopez was playing Selena.

Selena /Warner Bros.

Selena’s fans began protesting the film once they learned that Jennifer Lopez was taking on the role of their beloved singer. Many thought that Lopez, a Puerto Rican from New York, was unfit to play the Mexican-American from Texas.

Six other women gave J.Lo a run for her money.

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Selena /Warner Bros.

Three women from the open call were selected and three other actresses including Salma Hayek and Bibi Gaytán were considered.

Jackie Guerra lied about her talents.

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Selena /Warner Bros.

Jackie Guera who played the role of Suzette, wanted the role so badly that she lied at her audition and said that she was an expert drummer. Suzette later gave her private lessons.

“Selena” almost became a victim of brownface.

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Selena /Warner Bros.

The film’s director had to fight to get Lopez the role of Selena. At the time, Warner Bros was considering a non-Latina actress to take on the role which would have been AWFUL.

Jennifer Lopez lip-synched

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Selena /Warner Bros.

Creators feared that fans would be upset if they saw Lopez singing the song on her own. So Lopez was coached to lip-synch instead.

Abraham Quintanilla didn’t want to show Selena’s murder.

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Selena /Warner Bros.

The film which came out just two years after Selena’s death was likely a very hard project for Abraham to work on. He didn’t want to show his daughter’s death but the film’s director convinced him it was necessary.

Constance Marie could be Jennifer Lopez’s sister.

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Selena /Warner Bros.

Lopez and Marie play mother and daughter in the movie. But in real life, Marie is only 4 years older than Jennifer Lopez.