Viva Adelphi University! It’s time to celebrate #HispanicHeritageMonth! Order up some tapas and arepas, chop some jalapeño peppers, and sizzle some carne asada, a Spoon University full plate fiesta! #HispanicHeritageMonth is celebrated every year from September 15th to October 15th. As a nutrition aficionada, there are three ways that I use food to celebrate #HispanicHeritageMonth, and you can use them, too.
1. Visit Hispanic-Owned Restaurants and Grocery Stores
I had an early birthday dinner at a fabulous restaurant named The Cuban. I loved the tropical vibes, live music, and classic cars on display that made me feel like I was in Havana, Cuba.
I ordered paella cubana, a delicious rice dish with seafood, meats, and vegetables, and every bite was full of sensational flavor. For those of you who’ve never had paella before, it’s a traditional rice dish from Spain. The beauty of it is that it can be cooked in various styles and with various ingredients from around the world.
I also enjoy delicious Dominican food. My go-to spot is Ada’s Gojjo in Asbury Park, New Jersey. I always order shrimp in savory garlic sauce with rice and pigeon peas as my entree and vegan empanadas as my family appetizer.
Try cooking traditional Latin dishes at home by shopping at your local Hispanic-owned market. Exito is my favorite local grocery store, and there are many other Hispanic-owned grocery stores around the globe. They sell all types of fruits, vegetables, high protein foods, and grains that you can use to make dishes to celebrate #HispanicHeritageMonth.
2. Increase Food & Health Spanish Vocabulary
I’ve learned to speak, read, and write in Spanish in social, professional, and academic settings, and I encourage you to do so, too.
Recently, I’ve made an effort to learn even more Spanish words related to food, cooking, and health. Ordering food and telling jokes in Spanish is so much fun. For example, while dining solo at a local Mexican restaurant, I randomly and loudly said, “Taco Bell es una broma!” [Taco Bell is a joke!] This flattered the chefs and made the staff and fellow diners laugh.
I also read a health pamphlet named “Vivir Con Diabetes” (Living with Diabetes), which taught me many Spanish words that describe health and the human body. I have a genuine desire to help a community that inspires me, and I hope to motivate members of the Hispanic community to accomplish their health and lifestyle goals.
3. Incorporate Latin Influences into Personal Hobbies/Interests
Salsa music and dance enhance my joy while cooking. If you want to learn more about Spanish-speaking cultures, watch the funny YouTube channel “Pero Like”. It’s fun imagining a vacation around the Americas, the Caribbean, and Spain. This YouTube channel also features videos such as food truck tastings, restaurant visits, and “Breakfast Swap” that foodies will enjoy as well.
If you’re a food-loving bookworm, you’ll enjoy “Como Agua para Chocolate!” (Like Water for Chocolate), too. You can even have fun on campus at a Latino Student Association event with good people, food, and music. I celebrate #HispanicHeritageMonth not only during my birthday weekend but also year-round with food!