recipes are passed on from generation to generation. And by cooking for our
loved ones, we show them how much we care about them, even when we can't say it
And that was certainly true in my family when I was growing up. My grandfather was an outstanding cook. His barbecued ribs -- let me tell you, they were legendary.
We called my grandfather "Southside." Why, because he lived on the South Side of Chicago.
Simple. We were creative like that.
Southside's home was the headquarters for every special occasion. And my mom being one of seven children, you can imagine there was always some kind of special occasion going on -- birthday, anniversary, some achievement we were celebrating all the time. So we were over at Southside's just about every weekend, packed into his little house, eating those ribs for dinner -- talking and laughing, listening to jazz, playing cards late into the night.
And then, when we could barely keep our eyes open, Southside would jump up and ask, "Anybody want cheeseburgers and milkshakes?" He didn't want us to leave. Then we'd have another full meal at 10, 11 o'clock at night. So for me, many of my best memories from childhood center around food.
And while we may have grown up in different communities with different cultures and traditions, I know that's true for so many of you as well. For me, it was Southside's ribs. Maybe for you it was Abuela's tortillas or Tia's arroz con pollo"." In my community, it was mac and cheese at church dinner. For you, it might have been arroz con gandules"."
For us, Christmas meant a honey-baked ham. For you, maybe it was tamales.
And I'm guessing that like me, some of you grew up in families that didn't have a whole lot of money. So you understand, like I do, that when you're just getting by, sometimes food is all you've got. So maybe you can't afford that nice pair of sneakers or those music lessons that your kids are begging for, but maybe you can spring for a cheeseburger from the drive-thru or bake that favorite dessert. In other words, when you always have to say no to your kids, sometimes it feels good to at least be able to say yes to food.
And back when we were growing up, that way of life was actually sustainable, because while we may have eaten way too much Saturday or Sunday, Monday through Friday, we ate reasonably well, mainly because money was tight. We couldn't afford to have dessert with every meal. You were not allowed to snack in between meals -- didn't have the money, didn't have the food. More importantly, the meals themselves were pretty healthy.
Think about those fresh greens and beans that were the foundation of southern cooking -- vegetables that often came straight from the garden. Think about the fresh frutas that many of you grew up eating. And on top of that, think about how active we all were back then -- running around all day, walking to and from school all day. Yes, to the young people, we had to walk to school.
A lot of walking going on. And we all had to attend P.E. classes that were required in school.
But times have changed. And today, a lot of folks don't have access to fresh food in their communities. In fact, Hispanic neighborhoods have roughly
Most Popular Stories
- Hezbollah Chief's Assassination Claimed by Sunni Group
- Allstate Seeks to Invest in Minority Firms
- Stolen Cobalt-60 Recovered in Mexico
- SpaceX's Satellite Launch Is 'Game-Changer'
- White House Pushes to Extend Unemployment Benefits
- Latin Music Conference Turns 25
- First-time Jobless Claims Drop Below 300,000
- Sarmiento to Handle Greeley Latin Ops
- U.S. Growth Stayed Steady During Shutdown, Fed Says
- Calif. Likes Christie, Says Tea Party's a Drag