Thursday, November 15, 2007

Spanish for the Holidays: La cocina.

Thanksgiving is not a Latin holiday, but Hispanics in the US have embraced the celebration, adding their cultural idiosyncrasy. Thanksgiving celebrations are a perfect reflection of the relationship Hispanics have with their adopted homeland. Family and friends gather to express gratitude for all the opportunities, and to share a good meal.

Thanksgiving = Día de acción de gracias.
Holiday = día feriado, día de fiesta.
Homeland = patria.

Thanksgiving in America represents turkeys, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and football on TV. For Latins it is laughter, music, and dance. If you are from one of three Caribbean islands (Puerto Rico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic), you will certainly have lechón asado (suckling pig), arroz con coco (rice with coconut), and mojitos. If you are from Peru or Ecuador a delicious cebiche will occupy a central place at the table. Argentineans will enjoy a good wine with their asado. Since Mexico is an enormous country, both North America and Central America, with mountains and Caribbean coasts, its food and drink are very eclectic. The menu, though, will include tamales and cerveza.

Turkey = pavo.
Cranberry = cerezas.
Sauce = salsa.
Pumpkin = calabaza.
Laughter = risa.
Dance = baile.
Mojito: a cocktail made with rum, fresh mint leaves, lime juice, sugar and bitters.
Cebiche: raw fish or shellfish marinated in lemonor orange juice, onion, and chili.
Asado: roasted meat

Puerto Ricans roast a turkey for Thanksgiving as if it were lechòn (suckling pig), and call it, of course: pavochón. The word pavochón is a combination of the Spanish word for turkey, pavo, and the word lechòn.

1 head of garlic (cloves separated and peeled)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon whole black peppercorns
3 Tablespoons adobo
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 14-pound turkey
1. Mash the garlic cloves and salt into a paste using a pilon (mortar and pestle).
2. Add the peppercorns and adobo and crush the ingredients into the paste.
3. Stir in the olive oil and apple cider vinegar.

Mash = machacar, majar, hacer un pure.
Head of garlic = una cabeza de ajo.
Cloves separated and pealed = los dientes separados y pelados.
Teaspoon = cucharita.
Tablespoon = cuchara.
Pepper = pimienta.
Olive oil = aceite de oliva.
Cider Vinegar = vinagre de cidra.
Pound = libra.
Stir = revolver.

5. Rub the mixture under the turkey’s skin, inside the cavities, and then rub the rest of the mixture on top of the skin.
6. Roast the turkey according to the manufacturer’s recommended time and temperature. A 14 to 16 pound turkey will take about 2 to 2 1/2 hours to cook.

Serves: 14-18 people.

Rub = adobar, frotar.
Skin = piel, pellejo.
Inside = adentro.
Mixture = mezcla.
Roast = horne.
Cook = cocinar.

!Buen apetito!


Anonymous said...

Mr. Guerrero, I have had Thanksgiving at my house for many years, and every year I make my turkey the same way (my own secret recepe), this year I'm trying the pavochon recepe, I just finished adobando my pavochon, it better be good, please join me for some turkey and you be the judge.

Manuel, from Puerto Rico said...

From Puerto Rico
You forgot to mention that pavochon started after Americans colonized Puero Rico, imposing their own traditions on the Island. We don't need one day in particular to thank God, we do it before every meal.