Chicago Spaniard

(Photo: Smoked chorizo in beer-laced arroz; one of this secretly Hispanic blogger’s best childhood friends.)

Perhaps the biggest open secret in my life is my heritage.  The Irish last name is a red herring. I’m actually one-hundred percent Hispanic.  Mom was a first-generation American born to Spaniard parents.  My father was Puerto Rican. Him I never knew, but mom brought up all of her children white-bread American.  By other children, I’m referring to the brother and sister I rarely reference and haven’t known in years. There’s a deeply substance-abusive reason for that on their part, but that’s a backstory for another time.

The point today is that although I never did learn to speak Spanish in childhood (and, boy, did it kill my mom to hear me coming home from college speaking French and Italian), I did learn a thing or two in the kitchen.  My most cherished culinary memory from childhood will always be my mom’s Spanish rice.  It’s been my go-to dish for years and will be again tonight as I bring a couple of vats of it to the Gapers Block potluck dinner meeting for the Drive-Thru food & drink staff.

I spent many pre-teen nights noshing on the chorizo I had secretly picked out from this beer-infused, Iberian-inspired paella.  Find the recipe and learn why mom always said Budweiser was a cooking beer, not a drinking beer (a contention with which I wholeheartedly concur), in my write-up today on Gapers Block, Goya or Bust: My NYC Mom’s Arroz con Chorizo.

Just keep your paletas to yourself.  Those days are over.

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