Saturday:) Some Special Hispanic Holiday Cooking

3 Dec

“When someone asks me if I like Mexican food, I always tell them that growing up, we just called it food.”

~Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Growing up on the south side of Chicago, we never thought of food as Mexican, Italian, Polish, or whatever nationality of choice, we just called it food. Mom cooked a big pot of pinto beans, carnitas, juevos rancheros, enchiladas, and tacos on a regular basis. Every Saturday afternoon, she lined up the Formica counter with small orbs of flour tortilla dough, then would roll out each one, and place each, one at a time on the hot comal. (A flat griddle) This was a painstaking labor of love. Three little girls would huddle around the stove for the first fresh off the comal delicacies. A dab of butter and a quick roll up, then devoured quicker than Mom could roll them out. Nice memories.

Back then, we didn’t think of it as Mexican food. It was just food. We didn’t even speak Spanish. I never learned Spanish until I went to high school.

So last week, I was really in my element. I had a chance to make “food” for some friends.

I prepared a build your own burrito lunch: a roasted corn and black bean salsa, sautéed green peppers and onions, shredded turkey, refried beans, diced tomatoes, sliced avocado, salsa, and warm flour tortillas.

We started with chips and salsa, conversation, and “food” would not be complete without margaritas.

(If you’d like any of my recipes, you can call or write me. But, it won’t do you much good. I don’t use recipes.)

Oh, and there were roses. Over a dozen knockout roses from my front yard. Late November, and beautiful roses. A perfect setting, great food, and wonderful friends.


The best part was that because I was home, I could have a margarita. I have a very strict NO DRINKING AND DRIVING policy. I have honored that rule for nearly four decades. Being a festive occasion, I had two.

Then, for dessert, I prepared my traditional Toni funny face brownies. I make the funny face before I mix. It just makes baking a lot more fun. They were delicious. ( my secret…add some mini marshmallows into the batter and sprinkle chocolate chips on top before baking.

I love to cook and bake, and my friends love to eat. What a winning combination.

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