During this time my father was in a labor camp, for the crime of wanting to leave the country. Alone, and with few provisions, as my mother struggled to care for us, she was struck with inspiration. One day she went out to the back patio to do the wash and saw a cute little frog sitting by the door to the kitchen. My mother has always liked frogs, and this little frog by the kitchen door gave her an idea...
My father and I were very close, but I did not always get along with my mother, so even though she was a marvelous cook, I had never been interested in learning her cooking secrets. However, after my father’s death, I witnessed my mother’s severe deterioration and overwhelming sadness. Looking for a way to engage her, I had the idea to ask her to teach me how to cook like her...
I'm 7 years older than Nina, and have fond memories of playing with her as a child, dressing her up like my very own live doll, putting on shows when she was a little older. Playing with Ella was like going back in time to those days of playing with my little sister!
This is another game I learned from my mother. It's like "This little piggy went to market…". You say the verse as you touch or wiggle the child's fingers or toes. There are several versions out there, here is my mother's version:
ESTE SE ENCONTRO UN HUEVITO
Este se encontró un huevito,
este lo llevó a la casa,
este lo cocinó,
este le echó la sal,
y el pícaro gordito se lo comió!
This one found a little egg,
this one took it home,
this one cooked it,
this one put salt on it,
and the little chubby rascal ate it!
Thank you Catalina, for letting me play with Ella and for the video and photo.
Mamina loved when her daughters sang her songs and games with her grandchildren. Now we sing them with OUR grandchildren, her great-grandchildren. I picture her smiling as we do so. I believe she is happy that we remember and are keeping the traditions going.
Here is a favorite of the little ones. It is done by placing the child on your lap, facing you. The rhyme is said as you lower the child back, away from you (while holding on to their hands or arms or even supporting their head, depending on the child's age). Then you pull the child towards you. The leaning back and forth is like a seasaw, or wood sawing motion.
Los Maderos de San Juan
Los de Juan piden pan
Los de Pedro piden queso
Los de Enrique, alfeñique
riqui, riqui, riqui….
Sawdust, sawing wood
The woodworks of St. John
Those who are John's ask for bread
Those of Peter ask for cheese
Those of Henry, little sugar figurines
(the riqui, riqui is the sound you make as you tickle them)
Here is a short video, so you can see it done. My little grandson, Link, loves Aserrin, Aserran! Towards the end we are playing another game, TOPI, TOPI, TOPI TO. No translation, just sounds as you touch heads together.
I don't know if there really are different versions of Aserrin, Aserran, or if Mamina sanitized it for her children's sake. Either way, this is my mother's version.
Anyone else remember it this way?
I have mentioned before that my mother loved children. She doted on her daughters, her nephews and nieces and most of all her grandchildren. She played many games, and sang many songs to them. I also sing her songs and play the same games with my grandchildren.
You can substitue other names for Papa, Mama y Abuela. Maybe it is "Tia que da pesetas"
Palmitas: the palms of the hands are "palmas", "palmitas" makes it a diminutive. Clapping small hands together, or little hand claps.
Little hand claps made of butter, for Father who gives money
Little hand claps of barley, for Mother who gives nothing (*)
Little hand claps and big hand claps for Grandfather who gives doubloons (or gold coins)
(*) How preposterous to say that "Mother gives nothing"! Children's songs are crazy sometimes.
Here is a short video, with my sweet little granddaughter.
|Cucumbers from my garden, unpeeled|
I love vegetables, I love salads, but that was not always the case. My mother used a lot of vegetables in the soups she made for us when we were children, but did not try to convince us to eat other vegetables.
Mamina loved this very simple, quick salad. Sliced cucumbers with vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. As a child I refused to eat it. I thought cucumbers were boring and that I didn't like vinegar and oil. Yucky adult food, would not even try it. Thank goodness we get to learn and grow in this life!
PEPINOS CON ACEITE Y VINAGRE or
1 Cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 teaspoon Real Salt or sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
Peel and slice the cucumber. Add vinegar, olive oil and salt. Sprinkle with black pepper. Stir and taste. Enjoy.
I'm glad my children and grandchildren are not as silly as I was. They love this salad and if I make it and leave it on the counter, it usually gets eaten up before the rest of dinner is finished and served!
Here is a video with my granddaughters, making Pepino salad.
Hello friends and family,
My friend, Whitney Johnson, invited me to do a guest post on her Dare to Dream blog. I wrote about what I learned from my parents about daring and dreaming. You can read it here:
Breathing Life Into Dreams
And thank you, so much, for your interest and support!
TORTILLA DE PAPAS
When the potato pieces were soft, my mother would fish them out of the oil with a slotted spoon and drain them on paper towels. I don't bother to drain them, but rather put them directly into my ceramic non stick pan. That way there's already enough oil in the pan to be ready to add and cook the eggs.
My children and husband like to put catsup or salsa on their tortilla. More heresy, as far as my mother was concerned! However, she had no problem adding garlic, spinach, or other vegetables to her tortillas.
I'm trying to get into this blogging thing, but I'm not very good at it yet, it's been almost 3 months since I posted anything! I have been doing all kinds of other things, and if I had the blogging mindset, I could have written about my adventures.
In December we helped our oldest son and his family move from Arizona to Atlanta area. After driving for 4 days, we celebrated the arrival to their new home at a local, delicious, Cuban restaurant--but I forgot to take pictures of it.
|Walking on Hollywood beach with MaConcha|
|With Tia China & cousins, including beautiful new baby!|
|Formal night on cruise|
Also, my husband and I went on a Caribbean cruise! During our first cruise, 28 years ago, I got very sea sick and was given medication which we then discovered I was allergic to... not much fun. I was not very eager to experience that again, however my husband has always wanted to go on another cruise and has waited patiently for me to decide to give it another try. He has a significant birthday this year, so I decided to be brave and give it another chance. I wore sea bands the whole time and did just great! I also brought along some ginger, but didn't need it. We ate lots of great Caribbean food, but again I was so enjoying the moment that I didn't even think to take food pictures.
My mother's first priority was her family, beginning with her brothers and sisters for whom she learned to cook, then her husband, children and grandchildren. She loved feeding us, sewing for us. However, near the end of her life, she confessed to me that she had a great regret. She had always wanted to perform, act, recite poetry, sing (she had a beautiful voice), but had been too afraid to do so, except in very private settings with family or very close friends.
My goal is to live life with no regrets, so I make time for the things I love: family, friends, good food, books, acting, Zumba, etc. And I try not to let fear keep me from doing what I want to do. Though sometimes it takes me a long time!
MACONCHA’S KEY LIME PIE
Key lime pie is a Floridian dessert, popular with Cubans because we use limes a great deal in our cuisine.
MaConcha is what our family calls my cousin Maria Conchita. She is an amazing and dedicated cook. There is a lime tree in her backyard, and when it's producing limes she picks them all, squeezes the juice out and freezes it in measured quantities, so she can make her wonderful key lime pie year round. Here is her recipe:
2 eggs (wash before cracking them open, since they wont be cooked)
½ cup lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 8 oz container of whipped topping
1 graham cracker crust*
Mix the sweetened condensed milk, eggs, lime juice and vanilla till smooth
Then fold in the whipped topping.
Pour into graham cracker crust. Put in freezer till set, at least 2 hours. Take it out and let it sit at room temperature for a few minutes before serving. Five to ten minutes, depending on how warm it is where you are serving it. You want it soft but not runny. Enjoy!
* The crust in this picture looks funny, because instead of a graham cracker crust, I made a raw gluten free nut crust so I could eat it. I'll post the recipe on my other blog, in case you want it. RAW GLUTEN FREE NUT PIE CRUST