Uncategorized

Birria and Pumpkin Pie

Growing up I loved Thanksgiving. My dad worked in maintenance and my mom worked in a jeans factory so they never really had a restful four day weekend. As I got older and learned the origins of Thanksgiving, saw poverty around me, then sprinkle on some seasonal depression on top, and Thanksgiving was hard. I was always sad. There was also another reason why I was so sad. As a kid, my parent’s employers would give them a turkey for Thanksgiving. Remember when companies still did that? Every year, my parents would defrost that big ass bird, chop it up, drown it in chiles and spices, and make turkey birria. My mom would have to stay up late and wake up early to prepare this meal. We had tortillas, rice, and beans to go with it. It was delicious but not what I wished we had. I grew up watching shows, movies, commercials that showed the dad carving a turkey and at the end everyone had pumpkin pie, THAT was Thanksgiving.

I am the oldest of three and by the time I was 15, I decided Thanksgiving would be my thing. I loved to cook and I wanted to have an American Thanksgiving. I made everything from the Turkey to the mashed potatoes, I made desserts, and we bought store made pies. Until I left home as an adult Thanksgiving was my favorite.

Fast forward 25 years and here I am, with my Japanese Mexican American babies, trying to hold on tight to our traditions. Getting as many recipes from my family as possible. Trying to remember the difference between a guajillo and a California chile, when to use cilantro and when to use mint in soups. I miss our turkey birria and sometimes I crave it. It now takes conscious effort, to incorporate our culture and traditions into holidays, and that makes me sad. Will my kids roll their r’s, will they know how to rip their tortilla into fourths and scoop up their food? I worry about these things. Do you?

It is up to us to keep our traditions alive. For me that means making new ones. One year we even made sweet red bean and condensed milk tamales. I look forward to next year. God willing, we will all be able to be together and eat some turkey birria and pumpkin pie.

What did your Thanksgiving look like as a child?

Motherhood, Multicultural Children, Parenting, Self Care, Uncategorized

Frijolitos

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Every single day, in the most mundane of tasks, I find beauty and peace, and feel that I am closer to finding my happy place. Daily tasks that transport me back to my childhood are my favorite. Recently the task was washing and preparing beans. As a child, my sisters and I were given the task of picking rocks and dirt off of beans and washing them. I love making beans. Washing them and hearing the noise they make (think first grade diy maracas), feeling them between my fingers is so relaxing, better than a stress ball, and like I mentioned, it transports me to my childhood, a happy and humble place. It takes me back to delicious meals full of rich scents, herbaceous spicy scents, open all the windows and doors, run out the house, I’m having a hard time breathing type of scents. Can you relate? We had leftover beans and I put them in the fridge. Today, I brought them out, added spices, and some tomato sauce, and made chili. I also made short grained rice because chili rice is one of my kids’ favorite meals. It’s one of those must have meals when we attend Japanese festivals. It made me think about rice and beans. A staple meal, it’s filling, cheap and easy to make, and so full of love when prepared by family. I love finding similarities between Japanese and Mexican culture. I love passing these traditions and meals down to our children. I hope they make these foods for their children, and that they too are transported back to their childhood.

 

I’d love to know what foods takes you back to your childhood?

G

Boy Mom, Community Building, Funny Stories, Motherhood, Multicultural Children

Hijos De Su Madre

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I decided to name this blog Hijos De Su Madre because that is what my children are, their mother’s sons. In a Latino family, anytime a child does something that catches you off guard, it can be awesome, bad ass,  sketchy, or naughty they are called their mother’s child, not their father’s… their mother’s. Mom gets all the credit, good or bad. That’s all right with me. These are my boys, my life, my joy, my strength, and my fuel. The things they do and say trip me out and I often wonder, “Dude, where do these clever, smart ass, funny kids get it from?”  Then I remember, son hijos de su madre…pos no de en balde.

Community Building, Motherhood, Multicultural Children, Parenting

Raising Multicultural Children

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Although multiracial and multi-ethnic families are not new to the US because of colonialism, immigration, and slavery, it wasn’t until the 2000 census that one could identify as multi-ethnic. Raising Japanese Mexican American children has been a beautiful learning experience. It has been a unique journey where we as a family have learned more about both Japanese and Mexican history and culture and have developed a strong sense of pride from identifying as Hapa. Hapa is a Hawaiian term used to describe someone that is part Asian or Pacific Islander. I describe our kids as Hapa Chicanos.

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We are very blessed to have many multicultural families in our lives. It is awesome to share experiences because even though we share the fact that some of us have Hapa children, the Japanese and Korean, or Mexican and Puerto Rican experience are very different. I am thankful to live in California where about 30% of Hapa families in the U.S reside because we are able to participate in several Japanese and Mexican cultural events. Recently we have attended FandangObon and Fiesta Matsuri  where being multiethnic is celebrated. My oldest has attended Tanoshii Fun Camp and that has been an amazing experience for the whole family.

Exposing my children to both Japanese and Mexican culture has not been difficult because as I mentioned we are lucky to live in Southern California. I wonder what it’s like to be a multicultural family in much less diverse parts of the country.  If that is your experience, I’d love to hear what it’s like.

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Learning dance steps from Nobuko Miyamoto  and Quetzal’s Martha Gonzalez in Leimert Park