food and drink

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

vickyscatering / Instagram

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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Starbucks Released A Coquito Frappuccino For The Holidays And Some People Are Very Mad About It

food and drink

Starbucks Released A Coquito Frappuccino For The Holidays And Some People Are Very Mad About It

@LatinoBoxSports / Twitter

Starbucks loves to make season drinks because, well, they sell. The pumpkin spice latte has transcended the regular life of a coffee beverage and has become a cultural phenomenon that won’t end. The unicorn frappuccino is another example of Starbucks using their reach and money to create timely and quickly forgotten drinks to follow trends. Now, there is a coquito frappuccino that has left the internet divided. Some people are excited to see their culture reach new heights while others can’t wait for it to be over.

This is typically how we are used to seeing coquito.

CREDIT: @lala / Twitter

Either your abuela and tías make it for the family or there is one specific brand that is always bought around this time of year. No matter how it is made or purchased it is always cradled lovingly in your abuela’s arms when you first get to her house for Christmas.

Now, Starbucks is getting in on the trend.

CREDIT: @Starbucks / Twitter

We don’t know how long it will last but the drin is being made by name in the Starbucks’ in Puerto Rico. There are ways to order the drink on the mainland but you have to come prepared with a list of ingredients.

The only online proof of this beverage is in this sign.

CREDIT: @Darleen42499267 / Twitter

The photo has gone viral with people retweeting and sharing the image at lightning speed. Some people are super stoked to get a chance to let their culture shine. Others are over the capitalistic nature of Starbucks using their culture.

Gentrification has been a major issue raised by those bothered by this drink.

CREDIT: @call_me_lexxi / Twitter

The drink is similar to their eggnog frappuccino just with some coconut added to imitate the flavor of coquito.

There are people we are delighted that their proud Puerto Rican culture is being celebrated.

CREDIT: @candace_pedraza / Twitter

Starbucks has publicly acknowledged that they wanted to change their image since the pumpkin spice latte has been deemed super basic. This is a start in that campaign to be more than just basic drinks for basic people.

A few Puerto Ricans on Twitter quickly mocked those who were so upset about the drink.

CREDIT: @morrisseysucks / Twitter

It really isn’t offensive for someone to make foods inspired by different cultures. Fusion cuisines exist because people feel an appreciation to the foods and look to make them as delicious as they can.

A whole other sector is just straight up laughing at the idea.

CREDIT: @AverageGirlT / Twitter

It is pretty interesting that the coquito drink would be available in Puerto Rico where you can get real coquito anywhere. When will the drink come to New York for the Puerto Rican community living there?

Some of the Puerto Rican diasporas is even asking that Starbucks expand the flavor.

CREDIT: @jetwithjen / Twitter

Understandable. There is a huge Puerto Rican population in Orlando and those people would probably love the idea of a nice coquito frappuccino on the way to work.

Starbucks is still testing the Puerto Rican market.

CREDIT: @Starbucks / Twitter

We have no idea how successful it is and we can’t seem to find any promotional material online. If it is successful, however, we need this on the mainland ASAP.

Let me tell you the ingredients for Starbucks coquito.

CREDIT: @MisterrPenguin / Twitter

It’s white mocha syrup and coconut syrup with a sprinkle of cinnamon on top. It’s not close to the real coquito but when you produce things in mass without the culture nuances, this is what it look like.

Many people are asking where the rum at?

CREDIT: @marielaregal / Twitter

The reason we all love coquito so much is because it kicks off the party. Obviously, Starbucks won’t be selling boozy coquito but the people can dream, right?

Some people are truly torn over the drink.

CREDIT: @WinkWinkWinki / Twitter

Tourists may have a coquito frappuccino to taste the famous drink instead of buying it from a local vendor. People might argue that it’s a money-making gimmick but some people might really appreciate the idea.

The vast majority of dissenters are asking if the cultural appropriation will benefit anyone besides Starbucks.

CREDIT: @beatzmarz / Twitter

Seems like it might be a good idea to tie this into the relief efforts in Puerto Rico since the island is still recovering and it is Christmas.

Starbucks did send some relief to Puerto Rico to help the farmers.

CREDIT: @ashleymwlopez / Twitter

Apparently, they donated 2 million coffee seeds to Puerto Rican farmers and helped sponsor the Somos benefit initiated by Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony. That’s truly wonderful, and it’s important to highlight when corporations give back to the communities that helped build them up.

They claim the seeds they gave were non-GMO.

CREDIT: @TainoAnomaly / Twitter

Starbucks donated 2 million seeds to coffee farmers throughout the island to help restart the coffee growing industry on the island. They have also partnered with World Coffee Research to enhance the quality of coffee beans produced in Puerto Rico.

Starbucks is responding to people on Twitter letting them know that they are heard and that Starbucks is committed to helping the island.

CREDIT: @Starbucks / Twitter

Only time will tell if the drink is something that will stay around or just a flash in the pan.

Some critics are not appeased with Starbucks donating money and coffee beans to devastated farmers.

CREDIT: @TainoAnomaly / Twitter

With so much happening on the island, the drink is becoming a way for people to further voice their anger with how Puerto Rico has been treated since Hurricane Maria.

Some have raised concerns over “Our Puerto Rican Flavors” being the tagline.

CREDIT: @MarcusShepard / Twitter

There hasn’t been any news yet as to whether or not Starbucks with donate any proceeds to Puerto Rico or nonprofits helping the island. The phrase is offending people for its cultural appropriation.

We all just have to wait and see if the drink will be good or bad for the Starbucks brand.

CREDIT: @Detresss / Twitter

Only time will tell.


READ: 17 Typical Christmas Foods Eaten In Latin America

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