Sharing my Hispanic culture

Posted on October 11, 2008. Filed under: culture, inspiration |

I’m Hispanic. My family tree began in Mexico and my grandparents moved into the US before any of their children were born. Because I grew up in a border town — about 40 miles from Juarez, Mexico — I’d always been surrounded by my culture and taken it for granted.

Then I moved away. Suddenly, my friends were amazed at my different-ness (yes, I know it’s not a word; I’m using it anyway), wanting to know how to make salsa, what my family eats at holidays, and how to speak Spanish.

Because our families have never met, and because the F’s family seems to have the same fascination for my different-ness, I’d like to showcase it at our wedding. At the same time, I’d like to stay away from cliches. Nobody in my family has ever worn a sombrero other than to be silly, and we don’t wear brightly colored, swirly dresses. On the other hand, we do like to drink margaritas.

Here are some of my ideas:

  • Guacamole and salsa on the buffet. Both are easy to make in large quantities and generally crowd pleasers. I’d pile a stack of recipe cards next to each dish. By the way, I’ve shared both recipes at the end of this post.
  • A mariachi band making a surprise appearance at… something. Rehearsal dinner? We haven’t decided how to handle that yet. Wedding reception? Maybe!

  • A blessing in Spanish during our ceremony. Unfortunately, none of my grandparents are alive. This would be a very personal way to pay a tribute, though it feels a little strange that few of the people attending would understand it.

In the words of Spanish writer, Jose Marti:

In Spanish:

“El amor


con el placer de contemplarse,

se alimenta

con la necesidad de verse,

y concluye

con la imposibilidad

de separarse”.

In English:

“Love is born

with the pleasure of looking at each other,

it is fed

with the necessity

of seeing each other,

it is concluded with the impossibility

of ever being apart.”

Did you use language or food to share your culture with your new in-laws? Like me, did you shy away from things you felt were cliched?

As promised, my salsa and guacamole recipes:

To a can of diced tomatoes, add one half of a small onion (diced), one clove of garlic (chopped) or about a teaspoon of garlic powder, one small jalapeno (chopped) — more or less depending on your taste — and salt to taste. Mix well. Serve with tostadas. I also sometimes add a squeeze of lime.

The order of what you do is important in making this an easy recipe. Four avocados makes enough for a large bowl of guacamole. First, cut each avocado in half, twist to release the pit, and spoon the remaining meat into a bowl. Add a teaspoon of salt, one clove of garlic (chopped) or about a teaspoon of garlic powder and the juice of half of a lime, then smoosh with a fork until the avocado is the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes. Add one half of a small onion (diced), one small jalapeno (chopped), and one half of a small tomato (diced). Mix well. Add more salt to taste and black pepper if you like it. Serve with tostadas.

Note that the lime juice keeps the guacamole from turning brown as it sits, so don’t omit. Virtually every other ingredient is optional, but I rarely leave any of them out.

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    I’ve been there, done that, got the t-shirt (and divorce papers) to prove it. Here I am again, pledging my life to my (new) love with eyes wide open (and heart racing) knowing full well how emotionally traumatic this can end… and doing it anyway.


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