Cooking time was also cocotazo time.
I first learned how to cook as a young girl in Queens. Mami had me help her in the kitchen… the place where good girls belonged…
Step by step…
Así es que se limpia el arroz, quítale todo las paja negras.
And then we waited patiently… or in my case impatiently… I wanted this domestic lesson on how to be good wife over with so I could go play… this cooking thing was more like a chore. There were six of us to feed or seven or ten depending on which family members were in town visiting.
Cuatro tazas de arroz… the same exact measurement of water to rice ratio…. Oil. Salt poured perfectly in the spoon. Wait for it to boil. Then add rice… stir… continue stirring careful to not allow it to stick. When the small holes were visible y el agua se esta secando… it was time to cover. Cook on low for 20 minutes.
One mistake and I would feel that silver spoon… you know the one… that one that leaves that red mark… “WHACK” right on your arm… skin stinging… I am very familiar with the art of Dominican culinary… but if there were one moment I did enjoy it would be the process of making pasteles en oja or quipes… mom is an artist in the kitchen… although daddy loves to tell the story about how she didn’t know how to cook when they first met. How everything she made was horrible. Yet all of this changed. There is nothing she can’t cook. It always amazes me how quickly she could pull any meal together. Cooking our meals with so much love.
My mind just drifted…
I got lost in thought thinking about how many women have been beaten by men who have come home either angry because the food isn’t done or because she might have burned something… or made it too salty… too tasteless… too whatever his reason for raising his hand. How interesting … my mind shifted from such a loving memory of cooking to the ugly truth that memoires of culinary haven’t always been pleasant. Masked by so many hateful words expressed to women.
Time is up (oooooohhhhh I was going somewhere else… I don’t know if I’m ready for that…)