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My Son Never Met My Abuela, But This Recipe Keeps Her Memory Alive

I never called my paternal grandmother ‘abuela’ during her life. We had a fairly distant relationship, even if she was one of the few relatives I saw on a near regular basis while growing up. In fact, she asked us not to call her that. Instead, she was my Mama Adilia—a quiet, tough-as-nails woman who remains as much a mystery now over a decade after her passing as she was when I was a timid, young child. But despite our lack of afternoons braiding hair and baking cookies, I always did and continue to love her. Moreover, I want my son to know about who she was as well. And all of that begins with something as simple as a recipe for ensalada de papa.

My Mama Adilia’s potato salad was a holiday staple throughout my entire childhood.

She was the matriarch of my family—my father’s mother, and our eldest living relative in the States. As such, everyone in our family gathered at her house for nearly every Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years I can remember. Many of the other foods would change year to year, but hers was ever-present: its crunchy bits of celery and flavorful manzanilla olives that I lovingly pushed around on my plate (which I never ate, though I loved the flavor they left behind). Moreover, everyone in the family insisted on taking some home for leftovers—in part because it was delicious, but I’d also like to think it was also because it allowed us to keep that connection to one another for a few more days in a tangible way.

When I reached my junior year of high school, my abuela got sick. First, it was her kidneys and a series of rounds of dialysis. Then her health worsened. The day she was scheduled for open-heart surgery, I crawled into her hospital bed and we watched a Cantinflas movie together (the only time I think we ever did that). I held her hand and prayed as I used to. When they finally came to roll her out to surgery, I had no clue how much everything was about to change.

She remained in the ICU for weeks. I visited every day, spending hours alternating between her room and the waiting room. I had faith she would get out, but it never happened. The last few moments we spent together, she was barely conscious. I tried to tell her about myself a bit. I told her how much I hoped we could maybe talk more once she was out. Then one day, they told us she’d had an intestinal rupture, told us she would need surgery, told us it probably wouldn’t work. And they were right.

I’d never lost someone before my Mama Adilia passed.

Photo provided by Priscilla Blossom

The understanding that our time here is limited, and that we should do all we can to ask the questions we want answers to while we can, was lost on me. What can I remember about my Mama Adilia? She was Catholic. She worked past retirement age cleaning houses for affluent families. She was born in Nicaragua. She had a difficult life (among other things, her husband was murdered and she raised her three kids by herself). And of course, there was her ensalada de papa.

After my grandmother died, my mother took over in making the annual potato salad. We got together for a few more holiday meals, but slowly everyone went their separate ways. The loss of the family matriarch was too deep to continuously keep us together. Not even an old family recipe could entice us enough away from our own lives to gather as we used to. But where did the recipe come from, anyway? Where the hell did a potato salad recipe, of all things, fit into a mostly Nicaraguan holiday meal?

My Mama Adilia was a private person. She took many secrets to the grave—among them may well be the origin of this delectable holiday salad. I had to ask my mom if she had any ideas.

“She learned it from her aunt, who raised her,” she explained. The answer was brief because, unsurprisingly, she didn’t know much more about it. Perhaps, then, it truly is an old family recipe. Maybe my Mama Adilia’s tia learned it from her mother or someone else in her family. And maybe it’s up to me to keep the tradition alive.

I come from a family of immigrants. That means the majority of my relatives came to this country with little more than the clothes on their backs.

And even if they hadn’t, my parents and ancestors (as far as I know) were never “well off.” The general poverty in Nicaragua, and especially the Sandinista revolution of the 80s, made sure of all that. Just like there were no family heirlooms to hand down when my Mama Adilia passed, there have been none when any other older relatives died. This is true for many Latinxs whose families all had to start over when they made it to the states.

But I do have this one special thing: a family recipe for ensalada de papa, a recipe that I happen to love. And as a mother now, I want to make sure to keep the few bits of tradition I can find within my family alive. My son will never have the chance to meet my Mama Adilia. I will never have the opportunity to finally ask her all those questions I’m itching to have answered: What was her childhood like? Who were her parents, her guardians, her siblings? What was my abuelo (my father’s father) like, and did she ever figure out what happened to him and why? And where the heck did this family recipe come from?

Perhaps it doesn’t matter where it came from, though. Perhaps all that matters is, this holiday season, I can make the salad. I can boil the potatoes and cut up the celery and throw on the mayonnaise and let my kid do the mixing. I can share the few memories and anecdotes about my Mama Adilia with my son, and let him taste just a spoonful of our family’s history.

Read: We Sat Down With Jennifer Lopez To Talk About Her Latest Movie ‘Second Act’ And Why It’s Important To Remain Loyal To Your Dreams

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

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The Spanish ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Is Being Shared To Honor Hispanic Workers Fighting COVID-19

There’s no denying that the world looks a lot different now than it did in 1947. And while the list of all of the positive changes that the decades stretching between now and then have done for the world and minorities, a recent campaign is also highlighting the ways in which our current president could take some notes on certain values the United States held dear during this time. Particularly ones that had been pressed for by one of our former presidents.

As part of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “Good Neighbor Policy” effort, he worked to promote positive and healthy relations between the United States in Latin American countries.

At the time Rooseveltaimed to ensure that the North, Central and South American countries avoided breaking under the influence of Axis countries during World War II. As part of this campaign, Roosevelt comissioned a Spanish and a Portuguese version of the U.S. national anthem. According to Time Magazine he also “recruited Hollywood to participate in this Good Neighbor Policy; Walt Disney went on goodwill tour of South America, hoping to find a new market for his films, and ended up producing two movies inspired by the trip: Saludos Amigos (1942) and The Three Caballeros (1944). The Brazilian star Carmen Miranda also got a boost, and her role in The Gang’s All Here made her even more famous in the U.S. And alongside these cross-cultural exchanges, the U.S. government decided it needed an anthem that could reach Spanish speakers.”

According to NPR, Clotilde Arias, wrote wrote the translation at the end of World War II, was born in the small Peruvian city, Iquitos in 1901 and moved to New York City to become a composer when she was 22-years-old. Her version of the anthem is now part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Now in an effort to support Latino communities affected by the coronavirus, the non-profit We Are All Human Foundation’s Hispanic Star campaign commissioned the a remake of the song.

Hoping to raise awareness of its Hispanic Recovery Plan and efforts to help to connect Hispanic small businesses and workers with resources during the pandemic, the campaign brought the old recording from obscurity.

For the song, the 2019 winner of the singing competition La Voz,  Jeidimar Rijos, performed “El Pendón Estrellado.” Or, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” 

The song has already received quite a bit of comments and support on Youtube.

Hang in there, fam. We can only get through this together.

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These Online Botanicas Will Satisfy The Bruja In You


These Online Botanicas Will Satisfy The Bruja In You

With young Latinxs reclaiming the bruja identity, the demand for access to novenas, herbs and other specially crafted ritual tools has grown tremendously. Luckily, these Latinx-owned online botanicas have made it easy for brujas, or anyone who wants to dive deeper into the practice, to get their hands on the goods. Whether you’re looking to conjure up more cash flow or secure some extra protection from those pesky mal de ojos, these shops have the magia you need.

1. The Flowerchild Bruja

You know you’ve received some real tesoro when you open your delivery and see the holographic cellophane. Unmistakable and unique products are what make The Flowerchild Bruja’s shop un cielo de flores. Garden Smudge Sticks adorned with colorful flowers and loose herbs packaged in clear hearts make this online botanica a must-visit if you’re looking to manifest more love and beauty into your life.

2. Brooklyn Brujeria

No forlorn-looking saints and pale stricken Marys here! Brookyn Brujeria offers a fresh and modern take on the classic bruja necessity of novena candles. At $10 a candle, you can enhance the vibrations and style of your space without blowing all your chavo. With intentions like Boss Bitch and F*ck Outta Here, these ain’t your abuelitas’ novenas.

3. The Hoodwitch Store

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Thank you for all of your love & support to those who have been readers and customers of @thehoodwitch over the years. ♥️You know truly how hard I work and that this is my livelihood and culture. Visual art and magic ARE my life and practice. Not a peach flavored “turquoise” glitter drink. My magic is in my blood, my magic is in my ability to bring life to my visions, it is creation & destruction. Over the last 6 years, I have been so honored and lucky to be featured in some of the largest media publications internationally not limited to Instagram. This is bigger than that and the creative team for Starbucks knew that. I have personally worked on consulting large companies in their design concepts this work comes naturally to me. “So what’s the big fuss?” My personal style has become synonymous with the visual aesthetic of my brand. No, I absolutely did not “invent” the crystal balls nor acrylic nails but What I created was a space for myself along with other POC to feel represented and have visual imagery that was representative of us. The colorful candles of my local botanicas, my gold jewelry, and my long nails clutching my crystals are certainly not “new” but to see them presented in a manner that I shared visually in this space was. Katherine de Vos Devine @devosdevine is a lawyer and art historian who wrote a powerful and insightful look as to what exactly is happening with this situation and we are sharing it in our story today because more than anything she truly gives the full tea of the situation. I can strip away the crystal balls, the nail art, and delete all of my beautifully curated photos but I will always be me, I will always be my grandmother’s voices and wisdom. I will create, and I will always know my value and my worth. I trust and believe that my ancestors and my guides are looking after me. These giants may have the money to bully artists, creatives, and small business but we know the truth and absolutely must not allow it. As a small business owner, I appreciate you standing with us in this uphill journey and even if it goes nowhere, at the end of the day I can laugh to myself knowing that Starbucks made a drink inspired by HW 🔮

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If you’re in the market for an obsidian scrying mirror, unique tarot decks or nail polish for your mystic manos, then The Hoodwitch Store is your one-stop bruja shop. Be sure to also check out the Bruja Bookshop tab, where you’ll find vintage, one-of-a-kind libros to up your witchy wisdom. The shop offers some rare finds en español as well. However, make sure you stay up to date on the latest inventory. These goods sell out fast!

4. House of Intuition

If you live in LA, you’ve most likely heard of House of Intuition. With four brick and mortar stores throughout the area, plus an online shop, it’s probably a wise investment to grab one of their “Success” intention candles. Their beautifully colored novenas aren’t the only reason to check out the shop, though. Seriously, this casa is staked with everything from crystals skulls, cauldrons and wands to a line called “Hair Mystics” featuring crystal-infused hair mists. You’ll be glad your intuition led you here.  

5. Lunar Magic Shop

Lunar Magic Shop is the super affordable and super thoughtful shop with some of our favorite bruja apparel. You will for sure want to grab the “My Mom Will Hex You” tee for the little one in your life or the “I Am My Own Sacred Place” one for yourself. While you’re at it, you might as well secure the “Motherhood”and “Student” crystal kit bags. This small shop definitely has the whole family’s brujeria needs in mind.

6. Curandera Press

While this shop is currently taking a small hiatus, they will re-launch on August 1. This gives us time to save up for a big vela haul. We could all use some divine intervention with lazy lovers and bad hair days, right? With Curandera Press’ “No Mas Amante Perezoso” and “Good Hair Day” velas, your prayers are answered. We’re excited to see what intentions they roll out next.

Read: In These Trying Times, Boricua Bruja Emilia Ortiz Provides A Digital Space For Healing

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