The smell of sizzling sofritos---the “holy trinity” of Puerto Rican cooking consisting of onions, red peppers, ajis (chilies), garlic, and cilantro---filled the air most days in our co-op in the Bronx, New York.
My mother made amazing rice and beans, chicken, and many native Puerto Rican dishes. When abuelita (grandma) came, the really weird dishes appeared like: sheep eyeball soup, bone marrow, and my least favorite, berenjena (eggplant). All these exotic foods gave me the desire to try different foods from around the world that I had read about.
On a recent trip to Paris and Prague with my youngest daughter, I fell in love with the boulangeries (bakeries) in Paris. We bought different pastries, ate many sandwiches, and delighted in the quality of the amazing food. It was when I was eating a delicious roast beef and tomato sandwich on crunchy French bread, sitting on the steps in front of La Basilique du Sacré Cœur de Montmartre, enjoying the incredible scenery, my mind went back to Puerto Rico. I felt thankful for my heritage and that it taught me to appreciate wonderful food.