Parent Map Article, Done My Way


I was asked by a Seattle publication that I used to freelance for  to write an article for “Hispanic Heritage Month.” They published my piece, but not without significant edits to make it more “palatable.” In some places, it didn’t even make sense after their edits, so I send notes and they made it into something that’s at least cohesive, if not exactly what I’d hoped to express. You can find that article here.

But I wanted to share my original text, because I took time out of my busy schedule to write it, and it matter to me. You can read it below:

When I was asked to write an article about celebrating Latinx culture, I thought first about authenticity. Authenticity is something everyone looks for when they go to a restaurant to enjoy food from a specific culture. They want the experience as much as they want to simply have the food sustain them. This is of course tricky in the US, as it can make a monolith of any culture. Countries outside of the US, like our own, are diverse. Cuisines are regional and specific to what is available to the people who live there. This is important for us to share with our children, as well as to keep in mind for ourselves.  

My family is indigenous to New Mexico, I haven’t done the work to follow my own genealogy particularly closely, but I believe we’re 9th or 10th generation Americans. Due to our Mestizx* heritage, we have often been colloquially referred to as “Mexican,” unfortunately as both a form of categorization and insult (It’s not an insult! Mexican culture is beautiful and rich, full of great artists, thinkers, activists, and wonderful normal folks, too. I’m so proud to claim any link to the culture I can.)

Growing up in a Mestizx family in New Mexico meant that my diet was comprised of certain staples; chunks of pork from our small farm stewed in green chile, refried beans, menudo, fresh tortillas,tamales, and sopapillas, all prepared with love by my grandmother. Unfortunately, when my Grandmother passed, she took her “recipes,” none of which were written down, with her. I’ve been slowly trying to reverse engineer the recipes myself, starting with the one I’ll be sharing with you today!

My grandma used to make this dish that I am 100% certain she invented herself, and I would always turn my nose up at it. It was a weird conglomeration of sopapillas, raisins, and cheddar cheese that she served as a dessert, or sometimes breakfast. Her own take on bread pudding. She called it “Migas”

In my mind, it was much too strange, the cheese mingling with sugar and raisins, the water that she poured over it. But finally, the amazing aroma overcame my logic and I tasted it. And I never went back. 

Your kiddos may giggle, or describe this dish as “weird” or “gross”-I know from personal experience , but I would just encourage them to think of it as an opportunity to try something special. A “thank you” bite never hurt anybody.


MIGAS

Ingredients:

3/4 cup shredded cheddar

1/2 cup raisins + 1 cup hot water 

1/2 cup chopped pecans  

2 cups milk

2  tablespoons butter (we typically use salted, but any kind is fine)

1  teaspoon vanilla extract

⅓  cup  brown sugar

2  eggs, beaten

Sopapilla Mix (available in the Ethnic/Mexican section of grocery stores or online)

Vegetable oil for frying 


Start by preparing your sopapillas according to the directions on the package. The key is to use just a bit of oil when frying, and keep it as hot and clean as possible.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Over low heat, warm milk, vanilla, butter, and sugar. Cook until butter melts and cool. Meanwhile, reconstitute the raisins in hot water. 

Butter baking dish and layer sopapillas, cheese, pecans, and raisins

Add eggs to cooled milk mixture and whisk; pour mixture over sopapillas. Let the sopapillas soak for 30 minutes.

Bake for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly  and edges have browned. Enjoy!

I know that I could have shared something more common, but Migas remind me of my childhood; growing up in a small rural community largely populated by other Mestizx people, in the middle of nowhere New Mexico. That’s what feels most authentic to me. I bet most all of us have some strange recipe that was the brainchild of   

a  relative that has become a part of family feast and traditions. Seek it out, preserve it, it’s a part of your family, too. 

*”Mestizx” is the gender-neutral form of “Mestizo” or “Mestiza,” which literally translates to “mixed.” These words are terms that are largely by Latinx people who seek to express both their Spanish and Native heritage. 





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