Relationship: Child of im/migrant

Guayo, one of the only Spanish words I use that has no translation in the English language. Words like these are meaningful to me, sacred. These are the words I treasure the most, the ones that can only be spoken by my mother, in her quiet and commanding voice, or my aunt, or my cousins or by me. A guayo is an essential tool for my family; countless holidays would be incomplete without the food its used to create. One of my favorite dishes in particular, pasteles de hojas, wouldn’t be possible without it. Guayos are used as an instrument in grinding the yuca and plantains so that they are ready to be stuffed with either chicken or ground beef. Personally, I prefer yuca pasteles with ground beef, but I see the appeal of really any combination. Food is such an important part of my Dominican culture, it’s interwoven throughout my family’s history, my mother often recalls how important the lessons her mother taught her in the kitchen were to their relationship. Busy working an exhausting job and going to school, my grandmother only had time to spend with her daughter while teaching her valuable life skills, the same ones my mother hopes to instill in me. This guayo has been passed down from generation to generation and will one day be mine, to carry my own legacy. Often, people say kitchens are the warmest place in any home, I think I’d agree. 


Place(s): Dominican Republic
Year: 1988

– Natalie

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant