It’s the Holidays. Time to Eat!

By Elias Rodriguez 

I am not a big eater. My doctor politely refers to me as “wiry.” The holidays, however, lend themselves to a season of edible indulgence. Whether it’s Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza, Winter Solstice or something else folks find a reason to concoct culinary delights. New York City is home to thousands of eateries, restaurants and Cuchifritos. If you are on the run and need to pick up a little something, Veniero’s is a gem of a bakery just off of 11th Street and 1st Avenue. Don’t double park! 

Puerto Rican pasteles are assembled using a large sheet of parchment paper and a strip of banana leaf. They are typically seasoned with annatto oil.

At my home, time slows down and Puerto Rican culture runs wild at our Navidad and Fin de Año celebrations. Pasteles (cooked green bananas stuffed with a cook’s imagination) are a birthright. These tasty entrees are well known around town. Look for the authentic ones wrapped in huge leaves before they are wrapped in wax paper. Pernil (roast pork, which my wife lovingly refers to as “heart attack food”) gets an all access pass. Smothered with garlic, oregano, oil, vinegar and your family’s inherited “secret sauce” this meat dish is not for the faint of palate.  Flan (a customized custard tart) is a fan favorite and a desert that is not easily mastered. Though, beware since in many homes the holidays become an excuse for epicurious experimentation. Can anybody recall the Alka Seltzer jingle? “Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz, Oh…”

During this festive time, we can all help the environment by reducing our food waste, sharing from our abundance and considering composting at home. Remember to practice kitchen safety and enjoy the holiday season. ¡Buen Provecho!

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