Hispanic Heritage Month-Inspired Recipes to Recreate

COVID-19 if nothing else has completely squashed everyone’s plans of travelling abroad for at least the rest of this year. I personally have always desired to travel and experience new cultures firsthand. As a college student, one of the ways I have been able to experience different cultures in quarantine is through taste. The shutdown, if nothing else, has given me an opportunity to cook more; I now cook almost every day.  One of the best things about baking and cooking is that you can explore other cultures through food. Being of Polish descent, I grew up eating pierogies and babka around holidays as major dishes. My family, however, has a very interesting palette when it comes to family meals. Usually, we include Mexican, Cuban, Italian, and German cuisine. Over the years, I have grown to love cooking and baking. Some of my favorite dishes to make include staples of Hispanic cultures. 

As a side dish and snack, I absolutely love making fried plantains. They are extremely easy to make and taste delicious. They have a stronger taste than bananas and are a little thicker, which adds to the flavor! They also are amazingly baked as plantain chips which is a bit of a healthier option given the lack of oils. To spice up my baking a little (pun intended!), I love adding spices to some of my favorite pastries. For instance, Mexican brownies are one of my favorite sweet and spicy pastries to make. These brownies are a fun way to bring some culture to a popular dessert. They go great with some dulce de leche flavored ice cream, and the ice cream does not always have to be homemade since it can  be found in grocery stores! 

Although it is probably apparent now that I have a huge sweet tooth, I also love spicy, savory foods and snacks! Salsa is a fun way to combine the vegetables I grow in my garden with my love for cooking. Guacamole is another easy snack to make, and both go great with tortilla chips! One of the best meals that my mom and I occasionally make for dinner is a Mexican style casserole, which is a fun way to combine Mexican style flavors! I especially like adding extra spices to enhance the flavors of the dish. 

Cooking is a great way to explore new cultures and experience them. In a world where travel is limited, cooking is a great way to travel from home. To celebrate Hispanic Heritage month, I will be trying out some new recipes including flan, ropa vieja, and paella!