This I Believe

Shannon - Grand Prairie, Texas
Entered on October 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, pleasure
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Every good memory I have from my grandmother almost always is tied to Mexican food. Growing up, my cousins and I spent a lot of time at her house just playing together and getting into the kind of trouble kids get into. It seemed like my grandmother was always cooking something or the house always smelt like something good. My mouth still waters every time I go visit her.

Every holiday I can remember spending with them involved some elaborate meal prepared by my grandma, mom, and aunts (it’s a really big family). The table was full of wonderful dishes like enchiladas, tamales, rice, beans, tortillas… The list goes on. But, my all time favorite, arroz con pollo, was always the one I went for first. The food was and still is a huge part of our family gatherings. They don’t happen near as often as they used to. But when we do get together, you can count on the food being there. My uncles can disagree on nearly everything there is do disagree about, but once the food comes out, they’re silent. It’s something I’ve never been able to explain.

There’s something very spiritual about food. Not just food, but food made with love. My grandmother always puts her whole heart into her meals. That, to me, makes all the difference in the world.

To this day, it amazes me what arroz con pollo can do. It’s such a simple dish consisting of only white rice, chicken and a few seasonings, but it truly is magical. My grandma used to make it especially for me when I would be at home sick from school. It

always seemed to make me feel better. She would get plates for the both of us and we’d sit and talk. I could fill an ocean with all the words of wisdom she has given me over the course of my still-young life. I can remember being only eight years old and sitting at the kitchen table just waiting for her to give me some life lesson or to hear her laugh or to even get the first sampling of whatever she was making.

Arroz con pollo is more than just a dish. It’s comfort food. The way the spices blend together has a way of bringing me home and reminding me of who I am and where I came from. It’s a cure-all to any physical or emotional sickness the world can throw my direction.

At only seventeen years of age, I’ve come to believe a lot of things and have formed my own opinions about life. But, one thing I believe with all of my heart is that almost anything can be fixed by a plate of arroz con pollo, a glass of iced tea and a grandmother that loves you.