She sat against the brook of the Guayas River with her six siblings by her side, her stomach growled aggressively. She picked up wood chips one by one, postulating whether or not to put them in her mouth. This was what daily life looked like for my grandmother. Growing up in the suburbs of Guayaquil, a densely populated town on the west coast of Ecuador, life was not always simple. As one of seven children, it was very difficult for my grandmother’s parents to scrape together enough money to feed her family. Due to their economic situation, they discovered that buying rice and beans in bulk was a very cheap option that was widely abundant in their country. Although this may sound like a side dish to many, this simple food item evolved into something much more for my family. When my grandmother came to America, she brought with her the family recipe and made it very frequently for my mother and her siblings. Constantly, they requested this meal because it was something special to them, not simply a cheap food to buy. Regardless of the occasion, my mother now makes this meal often as well, for a family get-together, a typical weekday, or our birthdays. This dish will always hold a special place in my heart because although I was not fortunate enough to meet my grandmother, I always feel connected to her and the rest of my family through this dish.
– Olivia C.