Food and the World – Chiles en Nogada – Migration, Food, Ritual, Family – Itzayan Rocha. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

Food and the World – Chiles en Nogada – Migration, Food, Ritual, Family – Itzayan Rocha. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

[See: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/c5342051-0800-4491-abaa-f6982b5ed722 ]

Chiles en Nogada have been my favorite dish for as long as I can remember. I do not remember a time when it wasn’t a special dish in our family, and honestly I don’t want to because it was probably a very tasteless time in my life. All jokes aside, my dad, the cook in our family, was the one who introduced Chiles en Nogada to me, and he basically changed my life when he did. I don’t quite remember the first time he prepared this meal for my mom and me, but it must have been a day of celebration. My best guess is that it was during either Thanksgiving, or Christmas because that is when we would have had the time to make elaborate dishes like this. Chiles en Nogada means so much to us not only because of how good it is, but also because it carries within its flavors a lot of stories. Stories that vary from history, tradition, personal anecdotes, and even people’s struggles. Having said that, this dish carries within itself our own family’s history, traditions, anecdotes, and struggles. It is a part of who we are, where we come from, and where we are going.

One of my first memories with Chiles en Nogada was during Christmas Eve. In Mexico, most of the celebration for Christmas occurs during Christmas Eve. We prepare the whole day for the last Posada in which baby Jesus will be born and placed in the nativity scene set up at our households. Alongside this preparation comes the food prep for the big meal that is shared within the family after the celebration. The first and only time I was a part of a Posada I was five years old. I don’t quite remember it, but when my parents migrated to the United States they brought a version of this important ritual with them, which is what we now do during the Christmas season. We also spend the whole day prepping food for our family dinner, and most years that meal prep involves the making of Chiles en Nogada. At night, after we’ve completed our closest version to a posada that we can recreate here in the U.S, my parents and I set the table to eat. We place the dish on the table, pray/give thanks, and begin to enjoy our meal. Our small prayer usually becomes emotional because we express our gratitude. The gratitude that we feel towards the food that we are about to consume, gratitude towards having each other in our lives, and gratitude towards the love that we see expressed in the world on a daily basis. Sharing this meal is like expressing love in food form, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

From Professor Liang’s Fall 2019 Politics of Globalization class, Itzayan is a Communications student.


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17 Comments

Filed under Global Studies, Professor Hong-Ming Liang, Professor Liang's Classes

17 responses to “Food and the World – Chiles en Nogada – Migration, Food, Ritual, Family – Itzayan Rocha. The North Star Reports: Global Citizenship and Digital Literacy, at NorthStarReports.org and facebook.com/NorthStarReports

    • Sebrin Ahmed

      Hi Itzy,

      I really enjoyed reading your story not only did the picture of the food look very mouth watering, but also the way you eloquently described Chiles en Nogada, creating visuals through your words to convey what it means to your family. “…this dish carries within itself our own family’s history, traditions, anecdotes, and struggles. It is a part of who we are, where we come from, and where we are going.” I found this specific quote very powerful in that memories created around food, its abiliity to create bonds and that transcends fthrugh generations. It reminded me of when you had mentioned the holiday festivities of Día de Muertos, and the food offerings for your ancestors, yet again showing us the power of food.

    • Rylee Whitney

      Itzy,
      I think it is very powerful that this food makes such an impact to you. Food representing a form of love is not an unusual thing, but it is very special to share that love with your family while expressing your gratitude. The fact that food as such can even tell the story of a people’s struggle, fascinates me. I especially think that when you get a special dish like this only during certain times of the year like Thanksgiving and Christmas, it makes you appreciate this delicious and meaningful meal even more. I also think it is amazing you spend the whole day prior to eating, preparing this fantastic meal. This adds even more gratitude to the dish you will be divulging in the next day. When you actually but effort, thought, and consideration into a meal like this, the richness of the history behind it really shines through I believe.
      Thank you for sharing this beautiful story!
      Rylee Whitney

    • Katrina Lund

      Dear Itzy,
      I loved reading about how dear this tradition is in your family, and especially for you. I love that it is something you can do and look forward to doing with your father during such precious times like the holidays. I think cooking with my family is one of my favorite things to do. You get to use your hands and enjoy the smells, the company of your loved ones. The sensations of sitting at a table to express each other love for one another, with the delicious physical manifestation of love you made with them sitting in front of you. Your article made me think of the unifying qualities of meals. Thank you for sharing.

  1. Jane Kariuki

    Hello Itzy,
    Your article was such a joy to read. It brings some of the ideas we have covered in class to life. “We also spend the whole day prepping food for our family dinner” reminds me of the process we take whenever we make celebratory food. Traditionally when it comes to celebrations or holidays my family partake in food preparation for a whole, if one were to come to our house during the process one may think its a competition. Despite the amount of food, we make I like the fact that we each have our dish that we prepare and there are no reminders when doing things and how to do them. For instance, on a holiday, my older sister and dad would be the ones to get up early cause they know their meals would take a long time to make. As for me, mother and other siblings would take out time getting up for we hate distraction and disturbance while using the kitchen. Moreover, such a process creates space to be with each other and create a tradition that we as a family share and understand. It becomes a challenge when we go back home (Kenya) as a family and have to adapt to another tradition, where my aunts and cousins would often be the ones cooking since we are “guests”.

  2. Mykaila Peters

    Itzy,
    Was this dish a delicacy for your father when he was a child as well? Where does the dish originate from? Has it been a part of your family for many generations? How exactly is the dish made? I thought it was very meaningful when you explained that the dish is a part of who you are, where you come from, and where you are going; the past, present and future. I think it is special to have a dish that means so much to your family and I think that many families have their “special dish” that is passed down from generation to generation. Do other people outside of your family enjoy this dish as well? Sometimes I also think that we can grow to like a dish because of what it represents and because of the fact that we grew up eating it and are accustomed to the taste compared to actually liking it because of its flavor (I am not saying that is the case for you).

  3. Claudina Williams

    Itzy,

    I enjoyed reading your story! Your statement about how sharing this meal expresses love in food form made me think of my experience with food in Haiti. My family in Haiti expresses there joy and happiness through food. Every time I go to Haiti, my family always greet me with food. The table will be set nicely and consists of a variety of food. Despite the fact that family lives in poverty, when it comes to expressing their love that never seems to impede in the ability is show it through food. Reading your article, I can definitely see the connections you have with Chiles en Nogada. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Elijah Ortega

    Hello Itzy,
    This was an extremely intriguing article to read for me. I have previously never heard of this dish. I envy the fact that your family has this one dish that brings everyone together to me that is something worth cherishing. My father being from Mexico, made me wonder if he had ever tried this dish but upon asking him he said he was unfamiliar. Maybe one day I can cook this for him and change his life just like your father did for you. Thank you for sharing this story and this dish with us. I hope one day I can get to try it.
    Elijah Ortega

  5. Karl

    Itzy,
    Thank you for sharing your family rituals with us! It is fascinating to observe how food, culture, and tradition travel across borders and spread in other countries. In a time in which everybody is always so busy, it is great to hear that you and your family find time to sit down together and express thanks. Whenever I visit my family in Jamaica, we sit down together for dinner every night and share some of the same rituals as your family. It is something I look forward to every time I go back!

  6. Ben Burner

    Itzy,

    I really enjoyed reading your article. There is nothing better than a family tradition and especially when food is involved. When you have that food on special occasions like holidays it makes it that much better. It was interesting learning about Chiles en Nogada. I think it is special how emotional you get when you pray on Christmas. This is good that you give love to the Lord. I am glad you can share these moments with your family. Great memories are made around the supper table and with the ones you love. Thank you once again for sharing this article.

    Ben

  7. Gabrielle Trelstad

    Itzayan,

    I really enjoyed reading your post. It is so apparent through your writing how important Chiles en Nogada is to you and your family.

    Your post made me think of my family’s traditions. Most of my maternal grandmother’s family was from Germany, so almost every year for Christmas she would make Stollen (a traditional German bread eaten during the Christmas season), to carry on the tradition that her grandparents passed down to her.
    It is quite interesting to think about how certain dishes and food items become such an important part of family traditions.

    Thank you for sharing your story!

    -Gabrielle

  8. Madina Tall

    Hi Itzy!
    I absolutely loved reading about your traditional food! One of the things that stood out to me was the ritualistic aspect of the entire food experience. Cooking it all day and looking forward to such exciting times. I specifically love that you talked about it being a part of who you are. After all, the quote says ‘you are what you eat’! I think a really important part that bears mentioning is the fact that it is constant. Human beings love to feel safe and that the security of eating something familiar with your family is so important! I’ll be waiting for my serving of Chiles en Nogada!

  9. Emily Knoer

    Hello Itzy!
    I really enjoyed reading about your favorite dish! I can tell it means a lot to you and that it holds a lot of power in your family. I personally resonate with preparing the food for a celebration because I remember as a little girl always wanting to help my mom and grandma cook the big meals for Christmas and Thanksgiving. In my opinion, I think food is a universal language because every culture uses food to express similar feelings and emotions with their loved ones. I think most people have many memories associated with food and specific meals that we can all share those commonalities.
    Thank you for the heartwarming article!
    – Emily

  10. Tamer Mische-Richter

    Itzy,
    I think this is something that I am missing from my life, a meal that holds immense meaning to not only me but my family as well. Yes, my family had dinners together when I was younger, however there was not that special thing that tied the whole year together. When you say that “sharing this meal is like expressing love in food form, and I wouldn’t have it any other way”, it reminds me of Thanksgiving. My family does not have a set meal, but the fact that everyone comes to contribute is what is special to us. The process is what I think people enjoy. Sure the food may be good, even great, but the stories behind how you made something is special.

  11. Katie Peterson

    Itzy,
    I really enjoyed reading about your family tradition of making and eating Chiles en Nogada! What is it made of? It looks delicious. I think that family traditions and eating together are both really powerful connections and important to have growing up. I can imagine this tradition continuing to be part of your family celebrations for a long time! I hope that I can continue my family’s traditions too. Thanks for sharing!

  12. hannah

    Itzy,
    I really like your story, how food is so much more than just something we consume. Food brings us together and makes us appreciate the small moments when family can come together. In my family we never ate dinner together, only on holidays, so I cherish holidays the most because its the only time I am really surrounded by loved ones. I love that you mentioned that giving thanks through prayer brings strong emotions, I also feel this way. Thank you so much for sharing!

  13. Angela Pecarina

    Itzy! I loved your story. It made me feel warm inside and also hungry. I am glad you shared a piece of what your family does to prepare this meal and also how special it is to you. It is interesting that there is so much tied to this one meal that you were able to recreate in the U.S. It will probably not be 100% how it was in Mexico, but at least you can make it close. I bet that is special for you. 🙂

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