Back in August a person I follow on Instagram posted some pictures of a chain store that was already selling Christmas ornaments. This is my excuse for posting a recipe of a coffee and vanilla eggnog in November.
To us Dominicans ponche (eggnog) signals the beginning of the holiday season. And if stores start selling ornaments and playing carols earlier and earlier, seemingly with the only purpose of annoying me, I will have to join them. I give up.
Speaking strictly about food, we could have done much worse than to be colonized by the Spanish.
Spain has one of Europe’s richest culinary traditions, a richness that was in no small measure influenced by the “Moorish” occupation of the peninsula from 710 to 1491 AD, a whopping 782 years. Over 200 years longer than “European America” has existed, just to put it in perspective. For more than seven centuries members of the three Abrahamic religions coexisted mostly peacefully on the Iberian peninsula, leaving their imprint on everything from architecture, to – of course – food. It’s not surprising then that Spanish is peppered with words from Arabic, the language of the peninsula’s former rulers, and that the cuisine is influenced by their food and love of spices. Coincidentally, Columbus traveled to America in search of a new “spice route” shortly after the Spanish monarchs retook Granada, the last Muslim stronghold.
All this is a long way to explain how a dish of vegan chickpeas with Moroccan spices is so appealing to me: It’s probably already in my blood.
This is a blog that straddles many different “worlds”. Something that is perfectly symbolized by a pumpkin spice latte flan.
Two bloggers belonging to multi-cultural families, trying to instill a love for traditional Dominican cuisine in our children, while at the same time trying to equally inspire their love for the cuisine of the other branches of our families. Two lovers of food, wherever they come from, with a readership that is comprised in its majority by the “Dominican diaspora”.
Have you seen the Thanksgiving table at a Dominican-American home? Pastelón de plátanos maduros shares the table with the traditional American turkey. Tostones, pastelitos and pumpkin pie. It’s a thing to behold.
Dominican arepa is a cornmeal and coconut cake, traditionally prepared in an iron pot on top of red-hot coal. A metal lid is placed on the pot, then more coal is put on the lid. This led to the expression “como la arepa: fuego por arriba y fuego por abajo” (like an arepa, fire underneath, fire on top), meaning being in a crossfire.
Haven’t we all found ourselves in a similar situation at a point in our lives?
In a case of “the cobbler’s children go unshod”, I often find myself with no idea what to make for dinner. I have found that in those cases the best solution is to explore the depths of my fridge and see what has been there long enough to develop consciousness, and eat it before it attacks my family.
About a week ago I bought a few acorn squashes on a whim, and they were lingering sadly on our kitchen counter, always getting pushed back by other foods we wanted to eat first.
With the temperature dropping ever so slightly I decided to make soup for dinner. But what soup? Well, how about I throw in a few other things lingering in the fridge?
And that was the unglamorous origin of this acorn squash, onion and pancetta soup.