Cuban black beans. And plenty of laughter. That's the internal home-movie in my mind as I replay scenes from family gatherings. As a boy, we'd travel to my late grandparents apartment in "Little Havana." Though it's been decades since I left Miami, the memories of those Sunday afternoons will always remain.
I can't help but remember those spirited get togethers - the great music - and the food! Meal time was a sacred ritual in my family. Cooking has always been a specialty for the Crews-Rivero bunch. Our famous "frijoles negros" (Black Beans & Rice) ... served up with roast "Lechon" (pork loin) and Fried Plantains were always part of the festivities. It's a menu as Cuban as the Mambo.
But as we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, I'm struck by the universality of food and family. Whether you're from Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Puerto Rico or anywhere in Latin America - family is the bedrock of who you are. And where Latino families are gathered you've almost always got great food.
Bringing loved ones around the table for memorable meals is the foundation for www.OldHavanaFoods.com - my Chicago-based family enterprise. As I continue to work on this labor of love - when I'm not occupied with reporting duties at WGN or traveling for Cruisin' Illinois - I think about my late grandparents.
Where would we be without the love of our family? Parents, siblings and grandparents? And the gift they gave me - all those wonderful recipes from Cuba! So this Hispanic Heritage Month, I give thanks again for my familiy. And for their unwavering love and guidance to make me who I am. Muchas gracias!