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Why Eating My Grandma’s Cooking Always Makes Home Feel Special

While living on the Hill, one of the biggest things that I missed about home was the food my grandma made. Even though UCLA would try to accommodate at their dining halls, I would like to say that whole beans do not belong in pupusas. Traditionally, at least the way my grandma makes them, they are mushed until they are smooth so that they can be mixed with meat and cheese to eventually be put inside masa.

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I went from a home where Salvadoran food was eaten at least once a week at my grandma's house amongst family to eating a lot of American or mediocre Mexican food in dining halls. As a half-Mexican girl, I can also say that Rende is not authentic at all, but it did serve better than having no Latinx-based food. 

Every time I would go home, I would happily come back to campus with a Tupperware full of my grandma’s traditional Salvadoran food. Now that I am home, I eat my grandma’s food almost every day. The last time I got to have her food this frequently was during high school when I would spend summers with her instead of working.  [bf_image id="q8lndi-a835o0-56e6ff"] In the morning, she would make me a specific kind of coffee that was always a treat for me when I would come home, and now that I am home, I can enjoy it every day. Although my family is not from the Dominican Republic, growing up, my grandmother would make me café con leche. When I first came home during quarantine, she made me a cup every day with the same coffee maker she used when I was little. Soon, I began making it for myself the way she taught me with the same old, small coffee maker over the stove top. I also now add ice to the drink, and occasionally, I make it for my mum as well.

On top of this, I am now getting to eat rice with almost every meal- just like I had when she would watch me during the summers. She makes many kinds of rice, but my favorite is called Casamento. According to my grandma, it can be eaten at any point of the day, but I personally love it late at night in a bolio, a bread roll, like a sandwich.  [bf_image id="q8lnbm-bfbuk8-dgxoic"] Throughout these tough times, I have found comfort through my grandma’s food. It has made home feel so much more special, especially when I head into the kitchen after being on Zoom for four hours straight.This food has never failed to make me feel more at home. 

Genessee (Gen-eh-see) is a second year, non-transfer senior majoring in English at UCLA. During her free time she loves to read, write, and dance. Currently she is a feature writer with HerCampus UCLA, writer for the UCLA VDay Coalition, and treasurer of Grupo Folklórico de UCLA. You can contact Genessee at genfloressantos@gmail.com
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