Joan Manuel Serrat once said in a song:
"Que decidan por ellos, que se equivoquen, que crezcan y que un día nos digan adiós"
This translates to:
"Let them decide for themselves, and make their own mistakes. One day they will grow up and say goodbye"
eight years ago, Enrico and I both decided to leave Puerto Rico. We
were young and free, with an entire life ahead of us. That was our
time. New city, new life, new jobs; everything felt fantastic. Once a
year we went back home to visit our folks and that was good enough for
us. We were always eager to come back to our new life in Chicago. It
And then the kids became parents, and our entire
world turned upside down. No help. No grandparents. No downtime.
Our visits to the island became more frequent. Our phone calls to our parents went from twice a week to twice a day. We missed
having them around terribly.
Just this morning Lucia was
pretending to be in a train. She said "Mami, I am going to Porto Lico"
(without rolling her "R's"). It suddenly hit me; my kids are growing up
without their grandparents; a reality that most people go through these
days. In this economy, we all have to go where the jobs are; we all
want the best for our kids and for our families. Both Lucia and
Joaquin are confronting a completely different reality than the one we
grew up in; being raised in a different place, a different culture, and
definitely, in a different weather. They are growing up in a place
where their support group and immediate family becomes their parents'
What are we doing for Thanksgiving? We go to Marie
& Rafa's. What are we doing for Christmas? We go to Lisa &
Adam's. What are we doing on Sunday afternoon? We go to Diana &
Eduardo's. Where are we going to watch the Bears play? We go to Khadine & Bill's. There is an upside to it all though; we don't have to go if
we don't want to. There are no obligations. We are our own little
family. Oh, and there is definitely less drama!
back at my own childhood experience, I have to say that growing up with
our grandparents was irreplaceable. Both of my grandmothers were
amazing, intelligent women. From Abita, I learned how to be
compassionate and kind to animals. There was always a place in her
house for yet another stray dog. She fed everyone and every living
thing; from hens, to the frogs in her country house. She was
But I have to say that my passion for cooking comes from
hours in the kitchen watching my Sevillian grandmother, Abuela Guapa, cook.
Cakes, paellas, lasagnas; she was amazing at everything she touched,
plus also a fantastic entertainer. Growing up with these experiences
was the absolute best. And although my kids won't be able to grow up
watching Abuela cook, they will have their own irreplaceable memories
with their grandparents as well.
So, in honor to both of these strong and amazing women; and to all grandparents out there,
I am sharing with you Abuela Guapa's infamous tortilla Española recipe. Olé!
Ingredients for the tortilla Española:
-8 medium sized red potatoes
-Olive oil (enough to fry the potatoes)
-1 medium Spanish onion
-salt to taste
Click on the pictures for step by step instructions.
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