My summer vacation will be over in less than five weeks. As much as I’m looking forward to going back to New York, I’m dreading leaving the comforts of home. My friends, my family, and, yes, the food!
For you to understand why I love food from home, first we need to discuss food at school. I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories about cafeteria food- I’m here to tell you those stories are true. Sure, meal plans are really exciting at the beginning, because you can eat whatever you want and (usually) when you want. But then you realize that the offerings are really the same things over and over again, and everything is too greasy and salty. It comes to the point when you look forward to the days they’re serving tortellini or chicken burritos, whatever dishes tend to be most edible.
Luckily, I do go to school in New York City, so there is relief when my friends and me venture outside the gates. From pizzerias to Chinese and Mediterranean restaurants, New York has a lot to offer, food-wise. And yet, it’s not enough for my appetite. The problem comes down to this: I have yet to find the perfect Latin restaurant. It needs to be a) delicious, b) cheap, and c) accessible.
I know what you’re thinking, that it shouldn’t be that hard to find a Latin place in a city known for representing all cultures. I’m telling you, I’ve been unsuccessful. Many restaurants are very fashionable and outside of my affordable budget. The more hole-in-the-wall places, which are probably the best, are found in Queens and Brooklyn. That’s a bit of a trek from the northwest Bronx. So yeah, it’s been unsuccessful so far. As it turns out, some of my hometown friends have also felt deprived of Latin food once they left the state. Sad.
The point of all this rambling is that while I was at school, I really started to miss food from home. Not just my mom’s cooking, but the plentiful Latin American cuisine found all over South Florida. I started craving foods I didn’t even know I liked, like lentils. I went from eating rice about five times a week (even more often during summer) to about once a week, and it was never yellow rice.
It turns out that food is really important to me. That’s why I’ve eaten a lot since I’ve been home. Don’t even get me started on Colombian candy either. Below are some of my own snapshots of some great meals. (WARNING: Do not continue if already hungry.)
I’ve also started helping cook, something I never did before. Actually, my mom is making some natilla and hojuelas as I write this, but you get my point.
And now I’m hungry again. Here’s to gaining the Freshman 15 after freshman year. ¡Buen provecho!