What does food have to do with Genealogy you might ask, and I will say everything. Food is a gateway to our past, our heritage inspiring us to create new dishes obtained from the past. The photos, the stories, heirlooms handed down from generations is not that different from the foods we eat. Most of us have recipes filed somewhere that came from our parents or grandparents and if not on file then is retained in our minds from our childhood. Walking into a house, a whiff of aroma that delights our olfactory nerve sending a fond memory to our brain; like the commercials we see of waking up and smelling coffee brewing producing a smile on the face. Food like a certain photo or heirloom, can take us back in time for a moment providing a break from our daily mundane routine of life making us feel better for the moment.
On Finding your roots Tom Colicchio was a guest on an episode that aired on October 21, 2014 and discovered a long line of descendants from Italy which provoked him wanting to book a flight and learn all that he could about the foods that were created during that time period to honor his ancestors. a clip of the show can be seen here.
Food has everything to do with Genealogy.
I have cooked for over twenty years in the restaurant industry starting out as a dishwasher while maintaining my studies with high school. I was thrown to the wolves one day when the line cook on duty walked out during dinner rush. The owner came to me, “you’re on the line”. I was promoted from dishwasher to line cook in a matter of two months. But, I had a knack for it and my parents started teaching me how to cook at the age of seven. The dish above is Carne de cerdo picada en salsa de tomate, translation Chopped pork in tomato sauce. It is a simple dish to make and only takes about fifteen to twenty minutes to make.
What you will need:
1 cup of long grain enriched rice
I used four small boneless pork chops and cubed them
1 cup of tomato sauce, I use Hunts brand
8 oz of water. Add a little more water if the tomato sauce seems to thick
About a tablespoon of butter
1 14.5 oz can of Chicken broth I used the 33% less sodium (the brand I used was Hy-vee similar to Great Value-Hey it was on sale) What I would suggest is that when you boil chicken the next time retain the stock and freeze it.
Canola oil spray to coat the pan to cook the pork in. (you can use vegetable oil as well)
Mild chilli powder
Dash of salt
Dash of garlic salt
Dash of black pepper
Let’s get cooking!
First, grab a pot to cook the rice in and place the tablespoon of butter in the pot.
Turn the burner on low to melt the butter slowly so that it will not burn. Once the butter is melted increase the heat to med low or medium if you feel confident. Next, add rice to pot. We want to brown the rice lightly be careful not to burn the rice. Once the rice is lightly brown then add the chicken broth, it should produce some steam from adding the broth. Next add the chilli powder. The chilli powder provides two benefits. One is to give it slight red color and a little zing. The adding of the chilli powder will be an eye judgement so be careful not to put too much in. Next, once it is boiling, reduce heat to the low setting and let simmer for fifteen minutes. I used to use Grandmas chilli powder so did all of my relatives and parents but when they discontinued it, I had to find a solution and that was using two different types of chilli powder. I used Tones mild chilli powder and Clover Valley chili powder to get the flavor and color I was looking for.
While the rice is on simmer, grab a teflon pan and spray with the canola oil then place the cubed pork in pan, add the dash of salt, dash of black pepper and the dash of garlic salt and cook thoroughly. Once the pork is cooked add the tomato sauce and the water and stir. Be sure to taste test to make sure the flavor is not overpowering. If over powered with salt or the tomato sauce to your liking add a little more water to it and stir and when I say little I do mean a little at a time. Once the pork is done set the temp to the low setting so it stays warm and stir from time to time.
Check the rice five minutes before the fifteen minutes are up and see if you might have to add a little more water to it. This is where the fifteen to twenty minutes comes into play.
Once the rice is done, dish up on plate and serve with banana wax peppers and warmed up corn tortillas. A slice of heaven from my past and generations back. I hope you like this dish as much as I do.