In Latin American culture, culinary traditions are more than just recipes that are passed on from one generation to the other: they are the heartfelt legacy and the living memory of the family history.
Shared recipes are a way of keeping the spirit of one’s family alive and present.
Every Latin kitchen, mostly owned by the ones who hold the secrets (the abuelas —grandmothers—), is the scenario of the most cherished and heartwarming dishes that have graced dining tables for centuries, and the shared memories built around them.
Keeping your legacy alive can be done in many different ways. And while many cultures enjoy passing on fables, survival stories, and lockets, most Latin American countries hold on to their abuelas’ recipes.
Recipes: A Way Of Keeping Tradition Alive
As we all know, Latin America is a vast and diverse region. It’s also the scenario of a multi-culinary experience for locals and visitors alike. From the fiery spices of Mexico to the savory empanadas of Argentina, and the tropical delights of Brazil, the diversity of Latin American cuisine is as colorful as its landscapes.
Abuelas are known as the heart and soul of the Latino’s kitchens. They are the ones who lead the family gatherings every Sunday, the ones who set the table in the same way their grandmothers used to, and the keepers of the ingredients that make those family recipes so flavorful and special.
You can eat tamales anywhere in Latin America, but no one makes tamales like one’s abuela.
By sharing their traditions and wisdom, abuelas passed down not just recipes but also stories, memories, and a deep sense of cultural identity. As a result, Latinxs embrace new dishes and cultures, but, most importantly, they do not forget their roots, where they come from, and what recipes represent their land and voice.
The way of keeping recipes and traditions alive is as simple and as homely as the Spanish word for grandmother.
Abuelas involve their grandchildren in the making of their recipes. From the lookout for the ingredients to the cooking process, parents and grandchildren tend to gather around the kitchen table and mix experiences, laughter, and whatever the recipe needs. In so, they learn the art of making tortillas, tamales, empanadas, or the secret mole sauce recipe. These moments of shared cooking not only impart culinary skills but also strengthen family bonds and instill a sense of cultural pride.
Bringing Abuela’s Kitchen to Yours
From the pre-colonial period till today, each dish in Latin American cuisine has a story to tell. Whether it’s the aromatic Cuban Ropa Vieja, the spicy Peruvian ceviche, or the comforting Colombian Ajiaco, every recipe has deep cultural roots and a unique history. And, as we mentioned before when abuelas invite their grandchildren to their kitchen, those stories are passed on.
In today’s fast-paced world, it can be challenging to find the time to cook traditional Latin American dishes from scratch.
But the essence of these recipes lies not just in the taste and the encounter with your abuela. It is all about how open you are to discovering the process and learning the origins of the recipe you are making. Building a legacy is not only about remembering where you came from but making your own.
There are numerous resources available, from cookbooks to online tutorials, that guide you through the steps of preparing these cherished dishes. And while they may not taste exactly like abuela’s, the love and effort you put into making them will undoubtedly carry on the heartwarming legacy of Latin American cuisine.
Building Your Own Legacy Challenge
Whether you had the chance to share those kitchen moments with your abuela or are completely foreign to the experience, we want you to savor the chance to build your own culinary legacy.
There’s nothing like visiting a Latin American country and being a part of their storytelling, traditions, and abuelas’ recipes. At the same time, cooking new or family recipes on your own, building your own narrative, and sharing that with your loved ones can be a legacy of your own that will be passed on, too.
Learning about where your family comes from, their story, people, and food, is a way of keeping memories alive. Latin American abuelas keep on doing so and inspire us to take our hands on it and make our own memories as well.
Check out our recipes and feel inspired by a mix of Latin American dishes!