I grew up in one of the coldest and highest cities in Central Mexico, Toluca. I had a good life in Mexico. I came to the Berkshires full of dreams and hopes, I married at that time, the father of my two girls. The cultural, academic and social transition was not easy, since I was coming from one of the world's most populous metropolitan areas in the Western hemisphere, Mexico City and then moving to the countryside of Massachusetts.
The Berkshires had become my home for the last twelve years. I am so thankful for being able to raise my girls in a place surrounded by mountains, rivers and trees. As an immigrant I know that I always have the freedom to choose where to live and by far I choose to be a Mexican immigrant living my best life in the US. Western Massachusetts is a calm and beautifully decorated place with the four seasons. Although, I missed so much my food traditions and family. I realized that through the food I could bring all my great memories back and create new ones here. So I started cooking my Mom's recipes. That is how I remember my five siblings getting together every evening to share the exquisite meals that my Mom prepared for us. My favorite festive meal is "tamales de rajas". Tamales in Mexico are shared and prepared as a community. I have amazing memories with my whole family helping out, great conversation and lots of laughs in between prepping, cooking and eating. The way you eat a tamale is to first unwrap it (remove the corn husk) with the excitement of a surprise, a gift, then taste the softness, warmth, veggies and melted cheese flavor.
– Liliana Atanacio