There is no Season for Giving. I give whenever I feel like it, and I am very lucky to live in a country where only children expect gifts for Christmas.
But when I do give, I like to give something I made myself. It’s usually inexpensive edible holiday gifts, but they are still meaningful. So as the Season for Advertisers to Convince Us to Go Broke Buying Stuff Most People Won’t Like Anyway approaches, let me give you a few ideas for edible, homemade gifts that will please your friends without sending you to the poorhouse.
Wrap them beautifully in reused craft paper, and decorate with pretty baubles made with scraps of paper you’ve saved from other projects, and they will be as pretty as they’ll be delicious.
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?