Catibias or empanadas de yuca/cassava.
Catibias or empanadas de yuca/cassava.

Just have a bite and you’ll feel in Heaven. This delight called “catibias or empanadas de yuca” goes back to the small town La Vega in The Dominican Republic, where my grandmother was raised, her mom used to make the empanadas as my grandmother helped her, observed her techniques, and memorized the recipe (also the secret family ingredient, of course!) Catibias are made of cassava/tapioca flour, my grandmother makes it from scratch instead of buying the flour, that’s why they taste fresh and delicious. On the weekends, I would go to my grandmother’s house and cook with her. This became an important part of my life,  I hope we can be in the kitchen together again soon. Five years ago,  she taught me how to make the catibias and began to serve them at family events. My grandma occasionally sends them to the U.S. so my cousins and I can enjoy the taste of joy and love in them. Eating together the empanadas de “Tata” (grandma’s nickname) has been a great way to share memories with my relatives. In 2016, my uncle had a stroke, which caused  change in his behaviour and loss of memory. He moved in with my grandmother, a year after, she found a way to get his body moving and entertain him, so she started making catibias with his help. We all enjoyed them on Sundays, and her friends from church were ordering dozens! I see this as an example of my grandma’s compassion, how her life drastically changed, and she still tries to make people happy with her joy and kindness. One time I asked Tata “what’s your secret ingredient?” and she replied: “LOVE.”

– YR

Relationship:  Im/migrant who arrived as a child Im/migrant who arrived as a child