(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.