Puerto Rican Food Equals Love

Arroz Con Gandules y Pernil
Arroz Con Gandules y Pernil

These are some of the staple foods found in a Puerto Rican home. For me, these foods are not just a Puerto Rican staple, but my identification as a proud Puerto Rican young man. My grandmother migrated to the states with my grandfather in 1961, leaving behind her close-knit family and all that she knew. Though young, she was already an experienced cook and although she didn’t realize it at that moment, began a tradition that was handed down to my mother, and now to my brother and I. In Puerto Rico, food is synonymous with family and love. My grandmother Ana, has been sharing her love with me since I was born, both emotionally and through food. Watching her cook is always very special because you can actually see the love going into the food. The joy on her face, the sparkle in her eyes, her dance moves to Latin music playing in her head, and the aromas that fill the entire house. But nothing beats the moment when we sit to chow down. It’s hard to decide which food to start with because it’s all so very good! Pernil y arroz con gandules ( roasted pork with pigeon pea rice ), the pastillos/empanadas, the alcapurrias, plantano madero, (sweet plantains) and tostones (fried green plantains) are a few of my favorites. My mother learned how to cook Puerto Rican dishes specifically to keep the tradition going. My brother and I have started to learn how to make these dishes so we too, can pass down the tradition to our children and they can learn how our ethnic dishes encapsulate our Puerto Rican culture.

Place(s): Puerto Rico, New York
Year: 1961

– Gregory Rivera

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant