Recently, I decided I should make flautas for my new roommates. This was a real eye opening experience for me. It sounds like a regular experience. However, it was not. As I ran from room to room trying to shut off the fire alarms in my apartment, I felt strong and proud as I realized that I am incredibly Mexican. I had been using a pan of some sort to toast some jalapenos, tomatoes, and tomatillos when the alarms were set off by the fumes. Yes, my excellent salsa making skills filled the room causing chaos.
Since this is the first time I get to put a home together, it's been exciting to realize that I am a definite reflection of my cultural descent. The three incredibly good friends I am living with come from very different backgrounds but have open minds. I have shared my experiences, food, and ideas and so have they.
Brittany loves making pastas, curry, and a lot of things that include bacon including green beans. Kelli has made pork chops with mashed potatoes and bakes amazing things from scratch or from a box. Aaron is the confusing type. He has the same cultural background as me but dislikes spicy food and likes anything greasy or stereotypically boyish. He has made lasagna.
It has just been amazing to be able to have my own kitchen and share it with them. My grandma is the head chef back home and so I stayed out of her way. I learned to cook some things when she was not around, when offering my help in preparation of any type of party, or just by looking at her work. I am also currently obsessed with the idea of what my future home will look like and what traditions I will withhold for my future babies. And so, I am happy that one day I will be able to cook delicious food for them especially some that tastes just like my grandma's.
I have made flautas, chile con queso, egg with ham burritos, guacamole, french toast, and salsa. I will learn to make fresh flour tortillas soon. I also bought a molcajete and comal yesterday as a gift to myself for being awesome, beautiful and smart.
This is also the first time that I am happy to learn how to cook without the worry of anyone thinking that I am learning to do so for the sole purpose of pleasing a man. I refused to learn how to cook because people often imply that because I am a woman I should learn how to do everything possible to make the opposite sex comfortable around me. I also wished with all my heart that I would find the love of my life and learn to cook together. I'm a sappy feminist, I know. I guess I will have to keep my excellent cooking skills secret from any love interests until they show me they really love me for me.
Anyways, this will not be the last time I have ever felt strong and proud to be Mexican. I have plenty of sudden insights about my "Mexican-ness" all the time. Mexican gritos come out of me when hearing the exquisite beats of a duranguenze or corrido that I had forgotten about. I pronounce certain words with an accent or say them with incorrect grammar. I randomly direct Spanish phrases to my favorite co-worker, who does not understand them, because I feel natural around her. I refuse to let anything go to waste or throw it away because I might need it later on and recycle plastic or glass containers to keep food in them.
My advice continues to be to have respect and love for your heritage and learn as much as you can. Do this not because you are told you have to do so but because it is a part of who you are or would like to be.