by Vianey Mariella Perez
Eating is one of the greatest pleasures a person can have in life. Eating great food is an better pleasure. Food is what can connect people, comfort someone in their darkest hour, or simply satisfy that certain something.
Yanitza Carmona, my mother, is constantly in the kitchen. She enjoys making food from her culture (she’s Mexican) as well as feeding her family. She especially loves when her kids try to help out when cooking. She believes that her children benefit from learning how to cook because it doesn’t just feed them; it helps them create food their ancestors once created.
I love Mexican food but I don’t love the work I have to put into making it. My mother constantly tells me that I should help her because what will I eat in college?
This happened again last week.
“Ayuda me hacer la comida mija!” She yelled at me. I stayed on the couch not moving an inch.
“For what? I know how to cook! Relax!” I shot back. I didn’t want to move from my comfort zone, nor did I have interest in getting up after a long day of school. My mother gave up trying to convince me to help her. She continued cooking the food with a hint of disappointment on her face.
Two weeks ago, I decided I would take on the task of cooking dinner for two days. When I told my mother, she was excited. She wanted to see if I could actually cook. I was a bit nervous because I didn’t want to accidentally poison my family members. I was determined to cook, though. I was going to prove them wrong and be the Mexican Gordon Ramsay of my house.
Day One: empanadas de arroz y carne.
March 4, 2019, 7:43 p.m. The kitchen was hot. It felt as though I was in a sauna. I had one goal in my mind: Show them who is Flaca (flaca is my nickname) Ramsay.
The first meal I was going to cook was empanadas made of rice and beef with veggies. I like to save money so I didn’t want to make a meal that was expensive.
Empanadas are a type of pasty, and they’re different depending on what you fill them with. My family usually just makes beef and veggies ones, but I also wanted to make some for the non-meat eaters, so I made some with rice.
You can buy the empanada discs at Pete’s market, they come in packs of 10. They’re frozen, so you have to wait for them to defrost.
While waiting, I put a pan on the stove and gave it a few minutes to warm up. When the pan was warm, I covered it with oil.
Step one was to grab some white rice / beef with veggies and fill the a little less than half of the disc.
Step two was to fold the disc so the filling was covered.
Step three was to push down the sides with the fork so the filling didn’t fall out.
Step four was to grab the empanada and put it in the pan with the oil.
You have to wait until the empanada starts turning gold. I did this for about two packs, so 20 discs.
Overall, my family members seemed to like them, and none of the empanadas got burned. I will say that these do take a while to make. If you’re in a rush to make food, don’t make these (unless your guests don’t care).
Day two: tortitas de carne deshebrada
March 5, 2019. I didn’t know what I was going to make, but my mother had a request. She wanted tortitas de carne deshebrada.
Tortitas de carne deshebrada are meat within eggs. It’s hard to explain, but it is a meal where the chicken is inside eggs and the whole thing is dipped in sauce. This is sort of a two-day process.
Before the day where you want to cook, you have to boil the carne in a crockpot overnight.
To make the chicken: Shred the chicken. Then, put in adobo, which is used in a lot of Mexican recipes. This helps add flavor. Make sure to mix the adobo with the carne.
To make the sauce: This is for dipping the egg and carne in later. The sauce has tomatoes, garlic, onion, knorr suiza (another spice used in Mexican recipes), and salt. When this is done put it on the stove with the pot on a warm-ish setting.
To make the eggs: just mix three eggs (later on you’ll just keep adding two to keep up with the meat).
Step one: grab a little ball of meat.
Step two: dip the meat in the egg, make sure it’s covered.
Step three: put the egg and meat in the sauce.
And that’s all!