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Sarah Silbiger / Spoon

The Homesickness Relief of Jarritos and Tajín

It wasn’t long ago that I could wake up in my room and know that tortillas and queso fresco would be waiting for me in the kitchen. If I wanted to, I could drive three minutes to the local Mexican grocery store and pick up avocados, chorizo, pan dulce, or aguas frescas whenever the craving hit. If I wanted a homemade meal, I could either pester my brother to cook me some mole or I could learn from the best of the best — my grandmothers — and very quickly have enchiladas in front of me. The culture I had back home was strong and dependable and now at Williams, that culture is scarce. 

Like other students, this new emptiness was more profound for me when I had to stay on campus during Thanksgiving Break. While my family gathered to celebrate connection and the blessings we have, I was with friends in a more-or-less desolate Williams with only FaceTime to say hello to my loved ones back home. But although my brother jokingly sent pictures of homemade soups from my grandmother in order to tease me, my friends and I had our own plan to bring our versions of home to Williamstown for the Holiday. 

The Dollar Store and Stop and Shop came through for my Latino heritage. It’s a confusing statement, I know. But with a plan to cook a variety of ethnic foods belonging to me and my friend’s culture, these locations provided options to bring a taste of tostadas and arroz rojo, Mexican red rice, for a Thanksgiving meal. 

So for other students missing a taste of home, and in my specific case, of Mexican food, it is a comfort to know that Jarritos from The Dollar Store or Tajin from Stop and Shop is a simple bus ride away. The bags of rice, cans of tomato sauce, and cubes of Knorr Chicken Bouillon to make arroz rojo is a quick comfort when the cold weather hits and you only have a pot from your dorm kitchen to get cozy. The variety of convenient sweet treats like Maria cookies or frozen maduros that my friend cooked for us as a Thanksgiving dessert also helped bring a sense of home to our campus Thanksgiving dinner. 

Although comfort resides in family and the sight of your hometown after a long plane ride, brightly lit grocery aisles, Spanish Pop, and the taste of rice after what seems like an eternity of dining hall meals can help distant connections feel a bit closer. 

Hey! My name is Isabelle Jiménez and I'm from San Diego, CA! I am a current freshman at Williams College planning on majoring in English and some social science!