Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Food, nostalgia and ... God ?

Christmas Season 2011. It's here it's now. I am ready, even excited, about the promises that come with a new year, a new beginning, full of possibilities. And yet, I am feeling nostalgic about a place or maybe it has to do with a feeling that a place evokes. So I cooked. I made my healthful version of mangú (boiled plantain, mashed with garlic, olive oil, salt, a bit of vinegar, and sauteed white onions), on top I poured gandules guisados (stewed pigeon peas - softened fresh peas, tomato sauce, garlic, homemade sofrito, one packet of sazón, salt to taste, dried and crushed oregano flakes, cubed pieces of calabaza). On the side, I made a romaine lettuce and spinach salad tossed with apples, VT maple syrup, and balsamic vinegar. 

I ate it. Then I thought about last year's Christmas Season, which we spent in Puerto Rico. Nostalgia set in. All the iconic images of San Juan and its beauty came rushing into my thoughts. I smiled.

I thought of my favorite things about spending the winter in Puerto Rico. The gentle breeze, the rogue winter seas, the stunning colors of the trees and flowers--the greens and blues that inundate the landscape. 

And I thought about roots and routes: both are meandering, flexible, shape-shifting. Roots are grounded, bounded to the earth. Routes as in travel and movement are boundless. 

I thought about the higher presence that I feel when I look at my son, at nature, when I taste the flavors that come from food or when I take the first sip of a cold beer on a hot day.

I remembered the icons of God and saints I saw during a winter walk through San Juan. In itself, the name of the city pays homage to a saint -- it is only befitting that the old city is full of saints and the image of God (disclaimer: this is not how I imagine God to look like). 

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