Ube, Milo and Champorado

Relationship: Child of im/migrant

It’s become a tradition for my sister, Sara, and I to visit our Lola in Chicago for Thanksgiving. It begins with the same scene: we walk in, take our jackets off and our Lola will give out a gasp. “Why are you so skinny?” As a result we will find ourselves in the kitchen with plates of food, sweet and savory. Lola will share us stories about living in the Philippines and raising our dad and our Tita’s and Tito’s. All the terrible things that happened and all the things that brought the family together. After sharing her amazing stories that built up her past, she will talk about when we were kids. “Do you guys remember when I used to make you guys food?” Sara and I straighten our backs and giver her a look. Then we’d talk for hours about the ube, champorado, hash beef, rice and all the other foods we would eat. It was very clear to us that food was a sort of glue to family. Lola felt that when she was asked by us to make food it was an obvious sign of happiness and family. Food is strangely and immensely significant to my culture but it’s not surprising to me because I understand the feeling everytime we three sit down to eat and have conversations. She will talk about her hardships in life and then make us all food. Sometimes I believe that making food for us makes her feel like she is making up for all the wrong that has happened in her life. 

Place(s): Philippines
Year: 1989

– Hanna Jo M.

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