it honestly baffles me to know that there are whole countries that don’t have a gastronomy-centered culture, that their kitchen doesn’t occupy the front lines of their identity.
like, i know i’ve complained about the mexican cooking time. but whenever i think of chicharrón en salsa verde i remember standing next to my mother while she prepared everything and i peeled the green tomatoes. or espinazo con nopales while i tried to wash the slime away off the cacti. or sleepy sunday mornings when i helped chop the onion for the chilaquiles and cried my eyes out. i helped while she cooked and rambled on and on about her life.
i always saw it as a tedious chore, until i realized that it was thanks to those few hours of constantly groaning and rolling my eyes at my mother that i was transported to her hometown through her stories, that i felt her joy at the retelling of her travels, that i could sense her sadness when she spoke of her family. it was in the kitchen that i got to know a side of my mother that nobody else saw. and holy shit, that creates a strong national identity.