Little Family

Little Family

Thursday, January 19, 2012

I found the Mexican in me!!

One of my biggest regrets is that I don't feel fluent in the Spanish language. Oh sure, I can eavesdrop and get the gist of what's going on, if I were lost I could speak well enough to find my way back but I can't just rattle on naturally. When I was in Spain May 2010 and was immersed in the language it was much easier. If I had stayed there a couple months longer things would be different now. But, I can read and understand Spanish a lot better than I can speak it; my speech is a little slow. I have to translate what I want to say from English to Spanish before I say it. I've always been a little nervous to speak in Spanish because I was afraid my accent wouldn't be right. That's the biggest reason why I never had conversations in Spanish with my dad. (That and he didn't initiate them.) I'm great at grammar though, thanks to my wonderful Spanish professor at SVU. Sometimes I'll try and have a conversation in my head in Spanish, or I'll go through a play-by-play of what I'm doing at the time in Spanish but I get so frustrated when I can't remember a word or the translation for a certain phrase. At my parents house we always joke around about how we aren't really Mexican. I mean, look at Javi and I: we're white skinned, tall, and don't speak Spanish in our home ever. We don't celerate Mexican holidays, we aren't Catholic, and we don't do spicy. My dad never gets that logic. He always claims "You guys are so Mexican" and then five minutes later "You guys are so white"... So it's kind of confusing. How can we be both Mexican and White.
On every college or job application that asks for race I always have to stop for a second and think. Yeah, I know I should put Mexican because places prefer diversity and sure, there's Mexican in my blood but am I really "Mexican"? What IS a Mexican anyway? Am I succumbing to the need to classify myself using stereotypes just like everyone else? Do I have trouble checking the box of what I am because my Spanish isn't as great as I want it to be or my hair and skin aren't as dark as most Mexicans?
Travis and I have had this conversation about him being Hawaiian multiple times. He is less Hawaiian than I am Mexican but he claims to be Hawaiian wholeheartedly whereas I have issues with what I am. I tell him, you don't speak Hawaiian (not many do anymore, by the way) you didn't live there for more than six months, and you are less than half- how can you call yourself Hawaiian?! He's told me- it's not about the percent in you blood it's about the pride, about what's in your heart. Well, I've decided, I don't know what's in my heart. I know I am happy and healthy and am loving life but that doesn't determine "what's in my heart." But, I can tell you what's in my stomach. I've found a way to relate to my heritage that's easy and delicious. That's right- cooking. I never knew I had the knack for cooking before I got married but I've found out I love it. It's kind of relaxing, until I see all the dishes that I've dirtied, and I feel a sense of satisfaction after making a good meal. Last night I tried chimichangas. I always get them when we go to Mexican restaurants. My sister has made them before and it made me want to give it a shot. I got the recipe from this website and they turned out great, if I do say so myself. I was pleasantly surprised and silently patted myself on the back for a job well done. "See" I told myself "there IS some Mexican in you."
This isn't a meal you do if you're on the run. It took time and patience- about two hours actually. But I planned ahead and started early. The recipe was easy to follow. (The only thing I left out were the green chilies because I forgot to buy some.) And, instead of deep-frying the chimi's  I baked them. Lindsay suggested coating the tortillas in olive oil  before wrapping and throwing them in the oven. So, that's what I did. I cooked the chicken on the stove as the recipe said, shredded it and then put it along with refried beans,  Monterrey Jack and Sharp Cheddar cheese (which happened to be on sale at Food Lion this week). I used a glass Pyrex lasagna dish, coated the bottom with a thin layer of Olive Oil and then put the six Chimichangas in. I set the kitchen timer and every fifteen minutes for forty-five minutes turned them. I added a few drizzles more of OO once just because I thought they were looking dry. 
I made the sour cream sauce that's in the recipe too and topped it off with shredded lettuce and tomatoes. We ate them with a salad (the usual avocado, cucumber, tomato, and carrots) and corn.
The one time I decide to use paper plates I put the pictures on my blog... oh well. Also, I used to shred the carrots for our salads hoping Travis would think it was cheese. It didn't work. Not even for a second.

I hope this recipe works out well for you. We thought it was delicious, and very filling. And, although the issue of who I am isn't solved I know at least I can cook like a Mexican. Adios!

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