Living in another country involves not only adapting to different customs but also traditions. This includes their way of doing things, the people, local standards and even language. There is also the challenge to maintain our own culture in a foreign environment. Sometimes this struggle results in attempting to make life easier by inclining or molding our individuality to the local folklore, or adapting it as our own.

The definition of “tradition” is the the handing down of statements, beliefs, legends, customs, information, etc., from generation to generation. When we stop transmitting our customs to the younger generation this ability dies. For this reason, there is a greater challenge to provide continuity to these old-school teachings through our children.

Many of our typical customs have to do with the kitchen, perhaps because food is a necessary and basic element in our lives. It also relates to our upbringing, home and family life.  Even when we are adults we can remember what our grandmother did best. We may think about our father’s delicious stew or our mother’s scrumptious desserts. Since food unites us as a people, it nurtures and communicates to our senses.

I love to cook and I use it as a way to entertain family and friends. This is one of the best things I can offer them. It makes me happy to maintain that authentic touch and reminds me where I come from.

At home, it is simple to maintain this atmosphere with our children. Although we live in a world full of hamburgers and French fries we can train our children from a young age to enjoy our authentic Latino flavors. You can include specific ingredients little by little in their baby food. As they start to digest more solid food, add beans, avocados and yucca in place of peas or potatoes. More pupusas and burritos (Stuffed tortillas), and less sandwiches and wraps.

Spices are very important too. A little cinnamon in the roasted apple or baby food is great. Even crushed bananas can be adapted to your child’s taste buds. This will pave the way for future spices, especially if the food from your country is full of spices! Sometimes it is preferable to prepare your meals with less salt and more herbs, spices and little cooked garlic. It will give the food more flavors and this is much healthier.

Keeping our traditions is important for the future of our culture. It respects our ancestors and values who we are and where we come from. And in the case of the kitchen, it is not too complicated. There are many stores and supermarkets that sell imported goods, which are not too expensive. Whatever you can “save” from Grandma’s recipes is a great idea, and get your children to love them too!

I hope you you have found this article interesting, and I hope you have a great life with lots and lots of spicy Latino flavor!

Until the next time!