Life After Layoffs: How Empanadas Gave Me A Sense Of Belonging

When COVID-19 reached the United States, I was working full time as an in-house content writer for a company that was about to launch a credit card review website. I kept coming into work each day feeling secure that this pandemic surely wouldn’t affec…

When COVID-19 reached the United States, I was working full time as an in-house content writer for a company that was about to launch a credit card review website. I kept coming into work each day feeling secure that this pandemic surely wouldn’t affect the industry I worked in. It wasn’t long before human resources decided that I, along with other creative team members, were costing the company too much in the midst of this health crisis and dismissed us.

I drove home, thinking about what I was going to do. It felt as though something greater than myself took over, and I made a detour to my favorite Latino grocery store. I felt myself guided towards the ingredients I needed to make Peruvian-style empanadas: a cartload of red onions, a big hunk of beef eye round (what is referred to as “boliche”), butter, lard, ají amarillo chilies, cumin, and oregano. I loaded my trunk with the groceries, pulled out my phone, and announced to my social media followers that I had just gotten laid off and would be selling Peruvian empanadas that week.

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Why Aren’t More Americans Buying Canned Milk?

At the grocery store the other day, my husband and I encountered cleared shelf after cleared shelf. No more flour. Pasta. The kind of flour used to make pasta. Oat milk. But, to our absolute delight and confusion, the canned milk section appeared untou…

At the grocery store the other day, my husband and I encountered cleared shelf after cleared shelf. No more flour. Pasta. The kind of flour used to make pasta. Oat milk. But, to our absolute delight and confusion, the canned milk section appeared untouched.

Don’t get me wrong—I have nothing against oat milk (or almond, hemp, cashew, or coconut for the matter). It’s just not what I’d consider a staple. Whether preparing our home for Florida’s yearly hurricane season or a pandemic, the first thing we worry about is our canned milk inventory.

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The Hot Chocolate Bread Pudding That Makes My Peruvian Christmas

For many Peruvians, there is no Christmas without panetón (this is the local Spanish pronunciation of panettone, a northern Italian sweet bread studded with dried and candied fruit). In Peru, it also includes candied papaya. The reason why this Italian…

For many Peruvians, there is no Christmas without panetón (this is the local Spanish pronunciation of panettone, a northern Italian sweet bread studded with dried and candied fruit). In Peru, it also includes candied papaya. The reason why this Italian baked good ended up so firmly embedded in Peruvian culture is the same reason why we ended up with dishes like tallarines verdes and sopa seca. Peru is home to a significant Italian immigrant population, which has greatly influenced the local cuisine, particularly around Christmas.

In my family, we often varied what we had for dinner on Christmas Eve, and I grew up not really knowing what a traditional Peruvian Christmas looked like. My dad, who always tried to infuse every occasion with some Peruvian flavor, fell in love with American-style roast beef and ended up making that every Dec. 24. He never faltered, however, from serving the most traditional Peruvian Christmas element for dessert: panetón and hot chocolate. It was easy to include panetón on the Christmas Eve table as it’s something you buy rather than make yourself. Considering that my dad never really learned to cook Peruvian food, this was a saving grace.

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The Miraculous History of Peru’s Most Sacred Dessert

Every October, the country of Peru becomes fixated on the color purple in preparation for one of its most important religious events: El Señor de los Milagros, or the Lord of Miracles. Catholic Peruvians all over celebrate this feast day on Oct. 28, th…

Every October, the country of Peru becomes fixated on the color purple in preparation for one of its most important religious events: El Señor de los Milagros, or the Lord of Miracles. Catholic Peruvians all over celebrate this feast day on Oct. 28, the focal point of which is a large procession through the streets of the capital city, Lima.

Donning purple cloaks, the faithful accompany the processional platform carrying an image of the Crucifixion while swinging censers of smoldering palo santo wood. By some accounts, this is one of the largest regular Christian processions in the world, and the lead-up to the day is punctuated by smaller neighborhood processions and other religious events. Local parishes drape purple cloths in their sanctuaries as retailers offer special deals for "Purple Month." The fervor around this holiday can be likened to the Brazilian carnival, though a lot more solemn.

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