craving: A Texas B.B.Q
Salam Alikom (Peace be with you) to all my Muslim readers and Hola to all my non-Muslim readers.
If anyone has ever been to our home in Del Rio, Texas they will see that this kitchen is all too familiar. This is the kitchen my mom used to cook in. There are many memories here. I'd like to share my memories with y'all.
I like the presence of food. Who doesn't?
I like the taste, like to try different cuisines, love to cook, but most of all, I love how food brings people together. Some of my fondest memories are spending our holidays at my Nana's and Grandpa's home: my Nana in the kitchen yelling at my uncles to stop picking from the menudo pot. My Grandma (dad's mom) made the best MEXICAN food in the world. Ah, my mouth waters just thinking about her food. My uncle Rudy and I would be laughing in the background while my grandma would yell at us in Spanish to stop. My Aunt Carol & Uncle Andy's cook outs were the BEST. I can smell my Aunt Carol's lovely cook outs and taste her homemade potato salad.
Her home was always filled with love and kindness and all her animals. Our laughter would radiate throughout the home. I miss those days.
Life’s major milestones are celebrated with a feast of some kind, and different cultures' holidays are always centered on family gathering for a fabulous meal.
And me being married to a man of a different culture sure has opened up my "kitchen lessons". Being my daughter and I are the only ones of the extended family residing in UAE, I find myself reminisce the past during my time here.
Back in Texas, my family would gather at my dad and mom's house on birthdays and holidays. All the women would chatter and giggle in the kitchen, while my mom gives directions to me and my sisters on what to do.
It’s always the same familiar Tex-Mex dishes year after year, but mom would reign the kitchen preparing meals so fast before you can blink your eyes!
No one can turn up those same heart-warming, palette-satisfying flavors like she did.
While my nephews would go wild playing, I would often find excuses to go in my room to try to get away from the preparing food to call my friends over... When I would come back to the kitchen, I'd find my mom finished and my sisters laughing and talking. All our friends would always gather at our home. They never denied a meal from my lovely mom.
Every one of my little trips into the kitchen, I would take in as much of the Spanish rice cooking, or the aroma of moms' signature beans boiling. I would listen in on their gossip and jokes, and listen to the bubbling of the tea my Mom would be making.
Those were the days. This is comfort, in my world. All the colors, sounds, and smells have a grounding effect on me, I feel secure and warm when I think of it.
I associate the happening in the kitchen with the gathering, the people, and the time my family & friends spend together while the men would gather in the backyard to BBQ T-bones, steaks and fajitas.
Dad is much of a quiet man. I would look out my bedroom window and see him over the HOT flames turning the meat and just looking at his beautiful yard he worked so hard on or admiring the cactus he picked at Lake Amistad, or him yelling for my mom to bring the dish out for the meat.
As an adult, being so far away from my family, nostalgia creeps up every once in a while.
I realized why I like to cook for people, why I enjoy entertaining —it’s all in the effort to mimic the warmth my family has provided when I was a little girl… Simply trying to relive the sweet memory that so deeply flows through my blood, that I longingly try to recreate each and every one of our holiday seasons.
final whisper: ..... And I miss you terribly, my beautiful family. God's willing those memories I have will never perish.