Hallaca (wrapped in plantain leaves)
Hallaca (wrapped in plantain leaves)

 I was born in Caracas, Venezuela. I am part of a large family, who was quite close with one another. Corruption seeped through the government, and inflation was skyrocketing every day. My older sister, (now 28) immigrated to the U.S in 2011, in order to pursue a career outside of our deteriorating country. In 2013, my immediate family made the decision to leave Venezuela. My parents chose New York as a place to call home, due to the easier back-and-forth travel between here and South America. Those plans were soon cut off and I haven’t been to Caracas in 7 years (nor seen most of my family in said time period). Every year, around Christmas time, my mother, father, sister (along with her husband), unite to make traditional Venezuelan dishes. One of the components of our meal is the Hallaca. They are similar to tamales, in the sense that they are made from maize dough. Hallacas are stuffed with beef, raisins, and olives, while being wrapped in plantain leaves held together by string. You then boil them, untie the leaves, and are left with a perfectly shaped meal. It dates back to the colonial era (15th-16th century) and is the oldest food tradition in Venezuela. We eat them on Christmas and New Year’s eve. Being together with my family and embracing our culture, helps me feel connected to my original roots. 

Place(s): New York, Venezuela
Year: 2013

– A.M

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