The holidays are always interesting in our bi-cultural household. There’s no way my mother could get into the Christmas spirit without her pasteles and neither could my father without his tamales. Growing up in a bi-cultural household has given me the best of both worlds, and this is even truer during Christmas time. These are the months that I can choose to eat a warm Puerto Rican pastel washed down with a satisfying cup of Guatemalan Atol de Elote. Or, I could eat a Guatemalan tamal followed by a slice of decadent Puerto Rican Arroz con Dulce. Yes, in our household there is no discrimination, such unheard of combinations are completely allowed. And, why not? It makes our holidays that much more flavorful!
Having such a variety of food during the holidays makes this season one that I eagerly await. I can’t wait to help my mother cook up a batch of Arroz con Dulce, or take a trip with my uncle to downtown Los Angeles and search the blocks for the woman who will fill our empty pitchers with her comforting Atol de Elote. And, of course, I can't forget the Pernil and Arroz con Gandules. These dishes are so good, we make them even if it's not Christmas!
With so many dishes, I could write for months and still would not be able to tell you about all of the wonderful food my family and I get to experience during these special months. So in favor of time and space, I’ve prioritized and gathered together some of my absolute favorite recipes of the holiday season. Look out for my next post, which will feature a recipe for Arroz con Dulce, a coconut flavored rice pudding from Puerto Rico.