It’s a phrase I have been hearing and saying all my life. Let me explain. Coming from my big familia, cooking and eating was always an exciting, and somewhat nerve wrecking event. It was exciting because it brought us all together for hours. We gathered in the kitchen trying to “help” mom make her famous posole, and then pulled a random chair to all fit around the dining room table. And while everyone was serving himself or herself, mom’s questions always came up, “Will it be good? I wonder if I added enough salt? Will there be enough??” It was not until after everyone started eating that her nervousness started to drift away and of course, being my mom’s cooking, we knew it would be delicious.
Over the years my siblings started actually helping my mom cook, instead of the watching and taste testing I was doing. They cooked up a storm and shared with everyone! However, till this day the same phrase is repeated; “Amaaa! How did you make that?” ‘Amaaa’ is a way of saying mother in Spanish (in a somewhat annoying way due to the ‘a’ being extended and dragged out). So, after calling out to our mom whether in person or on the phone, she would gladly give instructions to her famous recipes.
Once college started and I moved from home, my usage of this phrase grew exponentially and I felt happy about trying to learn my mother’s recipes and even adding a twist to them (on purpose or by accident). Yet something was missing, I needed the big crowd to be with in the kitchen and to feed! I was missing my familia. But this story doesn’t end sad. (:
You see, as a Lasallian Volunteer, I have the opportunity to cook once a week for my WHOLE community! My mother (and when it concerns seafood, my father) gets a phone call almost every week with the same phrase, “Amaaa! How did you make that?” Meanwhile, my lovely community members are coming in and out of the house, sitting in the kitchen, chatting with me and even helping me out. After the cooking comes the best part: sharing it! And that’s when I find myself asking the same questions my mom always does, “Will it be good? Did I add enough salt? Will there be enough?” It is when my community members start eating that these questions fade away.
Cooking and eating brings my community together and I love it. I am blessed to have the opportunity to cook and be cooked for; LV you have given me another familia to share this passion with. <3
Gloria Jimenez, 12-13, Tides Family Services, Pawtucket, RI