The feel of fideo and the comfort of food

Growing up in my household, the foods of my native Mexico were our daily staples. Unfortunately, my mother is not a recipe and measurements type of cook. This means, that when I ask for recipes I do not always get a straight answer. But, nothing gives me greater comfort than the foods of my mother. Comfort foods have a way of making us feel as though the world will be alright. For that reason, I have sought the foods that made me feel good in my youth.

Recently, I have been enjoying fideo with beans quite a bit. For the fideo pasta, I like to use the thinner fideo that La Estrella offers. The ingredients you will need are:

La Estrella Fideo

¼ cup of diced onion

2 cloves of garlic

1 can of tomato sauce (can also use two blended tomatoes)

1 can of chicken broth

1 Knorr Suiza boullion cube

I start by getting olive oil hot on a medium heat before adding the fideo noodles. I cook the noodles (one packet) until they are a light golden color. I add finely chopped onion and garlic cloves to the noodles. Once the onions are cooked, I add 1 can of chicken broth and a can of tomato sauce to the pan. For seasoning, you can try to make your own blend of salt, onion powder, etc. On the other hand, you can use one Knorr bullion cube. This is, for me, what gives it the taste that I remember from youth. I reduce the heat on the pan to low. Then, I make sure that I put a lid on the pan and allow it to simmer nicely.

Fideo simmers in chicken broth and tomato sauce.

I really enjoy adding whole pinto beans to a bowl along with a couple ladle fulls of this pasta. This meal is best used to fulfill my childhood nostalgia.

The Way We Were

When I was younger I thought so highly of myself. I thought I was the smartest fucking person in the world. I had perfect breasts and a fabulous ass. I thought I was going to be President of the World.

Now…

Well, I still think well of myself. I know I’m smart, but I don’t know everything. Okay, I know that I know very little. I still have great breasts and a decent ass. I think, maybe, I could be on city council.

As I get older, I realize that I have become a sexy Verbal Kint. I get up to start walking. My joints are stiff. I try to put one foot in front of the other. My foot turns in and a slight limp can be detected.

Toda Hodida.*

After a few steps, I begin to get my groove back. I start to switch my hips from side to side. I begin to glide. My bad-ass Kaiser Soze emerges.

Bam. Bam.

Some dangerous curves right there.

The thing is, I don’t feel that I should be getting older. I still look in the mirror and see the girl I have always seen. The girl I love. And I wonder if my husband can still see that girl too.

I worry that it may be getting harder for him to see me as I was. I worry that he will only see me as I am becoming. An older woman. I wonder if he worries about whether I see him as an aging man.

The bad news is that a successful marriage means that you will be with one person as you deteriorate and wither; in other words, age. But, the good news is that as you grow older, you may find different things that make the relationship sexier and richer. Earthier even.

But the one thing that can never change is you and your partner’s willingness to communicate. Because as long as you are both in agreement to how your relationship will be defined. You can maintain your love. By doing that you can continue to be the way you were.

*For the non-Spanish speaker, “toda hodida” is equivalent to “all fucked up.”


Book Review: Music to My Years

Reading is one of my favorite pastimes. Recently, I finished the book Music to My Years by Cristela Alonzo. I loved it and I love her.

Cristela Alonzo is basically the same girl that I was in high school. Like her, I was a smart, sassy young girl. I was completely into drama and forensics (competitive acting and prose reading.) Okay, so I was not as talented as Cristela as she won numerous awards in her high school career. But, I definitely feel her as a kindred spirit.

The book is a memoir that cleverly uses songs and song titles for each chapter. The chapters then go on to detail important moments and people in Cristela’s life. I laughed and cried, sometimes in the same paragraph. The book was a very quick read and can be finished in a weekend.

If you are looking for a great story, read this book. If you are looking for insight into the life of first generation Americans, read this book. If you are looking for inspiration, read this book. Just do yourself a favor and READ THIS BOOK!

Invest In You

2020 has been a year fraught with stress and surprises. One thing that has been helpful to me has been to focus inward.

For years, I promised myself that I would become fluent in four languages before I die. It is a bucket list goal that I have nurtured since youth. In high school, I studied French. I learned a great deal from my one year of study. In years later, I maintained my knowledge through different techniques. But, I was far from fluent.

A few years ago, my husband and I traveled to the Dominican Republic. There, we met and connected with a couple from Brazil. Although neither of them knew English, I was able to communicate with them by speaking in Spanish. And, my Spanish speaking skills somehow facilitated my ability to understand their Portuguese.

Fast forward to the pandemic lockdown in March and April; I decided to pursue an item from my bucket list. I began to learn a foreign language, Portuguese, with Duolingo.

My language practice became very important to me. I appreciated the consistency that this program has given me during these last few months. And, I am happy to finally be working towards a long-time goal. I do believe that my Portuguese-speaking skills have been aided by my prior knowledge of Spanish. Nonetheless, my progress has been substantial. I am able to comprehend a large amount of Portuguese. More importantly, I am finding great joy in my studies.

If you are interested in investing in yourself, consider the following:

Invest Money

I have paid for a Duolingo membership. I practice 10-30 minutes each day. This program gives me a solid base on which I am building daily. But, there are applications that I have already been paying for that I can now use to enhance my language skills. I am watching Portuguese movies on Netflix and other streaming services.

Invest time

As stated above, I work on my language skills about 10 to 30 minutes daily. However, there are other ways that I invest time on my new language skills. I have enjoyed watching Brazilian programs on streaming networks. When I do use a TV show or movie to “study” I do two things. I watch the same movie twice. I read it with Portuguese subtitles and English language. Then, I watch with Portugues dubbing and English subtitles.

I listen to podcasts on Apple. The programs run between nine to twenty minutes. They are great commuting material. However, it is a good idea to go back and listen to the podcast one more time. I like to stop the podcast to practice with the podcaster. It gives me another opportunity to improve.

Another way in which I invest a little time is by reading Portuguese magazines, newspapers, and websites. Even 5 to 10 minutes daily of this type of reading, once or twice per week improves my language comprehension.

Invest in People

Of course, no language skill can be complete without investing in speaking and social opportunities. After all, the purpose of acquiring a new language is to increase your ability to connect with other humans. I have had it a little easier than most in this department. One of my co-workers speaks Portuguese. As such, I am able to engage in light conversation with him.

In time, I will need to actively create more speaking opportunities for myself. At that point, I foresee scheduling coffee talks with my colleague in person. Additionally, I have a Brazilian friend that I want to engage with remotely via Zoom.

I hope you will excuse my language-laden post. But, I promise you can apply the ideas that I shared here to any goal you may have. Once you decide to invest in yourself, your next step is to decide how you will invest your time and money into this goal. And, if you need someone to brainstorm, hit me up in the comments. I would love to help you create a plan.

The truth is that you are worth investing time, money and attention. You can start today by asking yourself…

How will you invest in you?