Coquito y Empanadas!
For the past 23 Christmases I have been able to share the joyous holiday spirit with my lovely wife.
We combine two very different Hispanic cultures and customs.
To outsiders, Hispanics all seem to be the same because we share the same language from the mother country of Spain, Hispanics vary widely in words, customs and traditions.
Caribbean Hispanics differ from Central American Hispanics, and those differ immensely from South American Hispanics.
To compound the issue further, there are smaller subsets of those major groups that also differ from each other. But it is that diversity that strengthens us.
The blend of Hispanic traditions and cultures is huge in my family.
My wife hails from the northern part of Puerto Rico — the Bronx. (I kid.) Yes, she was born in the Bronx, but her Puerto Rican heritage is strong and forged by very many long summer vacations in Puerto Rico.
For my part, I was born in Argentina, the southernmost of Hispanics. I lived many years of my childhood in Argentina.
So through marriage we combined our cultures and traditions and no place is it more apparent than during the holidays.
From the pernil and pasteles at Thanksgiving to the asado on Christmas Eve, foods blend and bring together the cultures.
So this Christmas, like so many before, I proudly make a Coquito recipe entrusted to me by my wife’s aunt from Puerto Rico and I also will indulge in a batch of my Mom’s Argentine empanadas.
But, of course, I will share with friends. It is, after all, the most wonderful time of the year.
Merry Christmas y Feliz Navidad!