That Mexican Proverb about Food and Men
Recently, I am starting to re-discover how my mind has been linked to food all along. If I knew then what I know now, I’ll probably would have chosen a different career. However, I've always been a late bloomer, and this was not going to be an exception. Choosing a profession was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. In 10 years, I jumped from one major to another- Applied Physics the first, in 1999. Since both of my parents are scientists, and I had no damn idea what to do after I graduated from high school, I chose the safest option. Young, confused and in love, I could stay in my hometown with my then boyfriend, and most importantly, I could gift my dad with the joy of becoming a Physicist just like him. After all, I thought, how hard can it be? It took me less than a month to figure it out. Afterwards, panic kicked in. But finally, I pulled through, and changed my career path, for the first time but trust me there was a lot yet to come. A year later, I was driving down the Rumorosa Desert for the first time, with a car full of my personal belongings eager to start a new life. I arrived in Mexicali, the famous Sun City, a hot afternoon in July to study Communications. It was the year 2000.
Eventually, I will tell you hundreds of stories about this wonderful time in my life that but today, let me share this one in particular. When I first arrived to the city that I would call home for the next 5 years, I lived a student's house. This is, a regular house with a bunch of college girls (or in rare cases, boys) managed by the homeowner, usually, an older lady. Being Mexicali, Baja California’s State’s Capital and home of the Alma Mater of the State’s University, this is quite a lucrative business. My house mother’s name was Alma, which in Spanish means soul. Let me tell you, in the kitchen, soul she had! The lady's food was delicious! I remember her fried beans, “carne en su jugo” and “gallina pinta”, which I will happily share with you on some other occasion. Also, her house reeked of cigarettes. She was a single mother of a full grown man, who used to tell us not to complain about the smell, because she wasn't quitting any time soon, after all, she said proudly, “I even smoked while pregnant”. And even though the son's dad had been married to another person the whole time, after 30-ish years, he still visited daily, and sat with all of us at the table. In the 2 years that I lived in that house, he never missed a meal, and after eating, they both went into her room to make weird noises, while we girls did homework in ours. "Give them good food, and they'll keep on coming back" she used to say proudly, while lighting her next cigarette and shuffling a deck of cards, "They always do!" After 11 years of happy marriage, I have enough reason to believe her.
So, in the spirit of love, relationships, and men, I bring you this recipe, my husband’s favorite, which I'm pretty sure, will have you coming back for more too!