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Growing up in a split multi-cultural family can be confusing. You grow up and have to decide on your own whether to continue one sides traditions and spite the other or to create new traditions. Eventually I got to the age where I could decide where and how I wanted to spend holidays. I tried to be fair and spend a little time with everyone – taking in the traditions that were passed down from generation to generation. Once I grew up and had a family of my own it was my turn to decide which traditions were kept and which were forgotten. To help make the decisions I took time to remember the passion behind the holidays.
The excitement and the devotion from the Latino side of my family was always intense – whether it was Christmas or Cinco de Mayo. Every holiday was a reason to celebrate. Except one. There was one holiday observance that didn’t have a huge party or loud music. There was that one holiday that my Wela showed more devotion and passion for, above the others, and it was Easter. She threw her annual fiesta de Carnaval and we danced and ate and laughed. But when Miercoles de Ceniza came I saw my family at their most humblest as the ash cross was marked on forehead after forehead.
For my Wela, Lent was always about more than just giving up meat for 40 days. She challenged all of us to let go of the things that bound us. Every year she would ask me, “Mija, what has the most hold over you; what do you crave the most?” Each year she challenged me to let go of those things for 40 days. I can’t tell ya how many times I cried because I chose to give up chocolate, haha.
This year I remember Wela and have been missing her more and more. With the stress and emotional overload I’ve had through the past year I grabbed on to her memory and her tradition of Lent to pull me through. I remember her words and her challenges and how something as trivial as giving up chocolate for 40 days made me more humble. More appreciative. Only this year it isn’t chocolate. This year it is men, well one man in particular – the thing that has the most hold over me. The thing I crave the most; which just so happens to be the thing that is causing the most stress! I think Wela would be proud and I continue to pull strength from her memory.
To keep her close to me this year I have made some of her classic comfort foods. I can’t get them quite spot on, but they are usually close seconds. My favorite and the closest to Wela’s recipe is the Jalapeno-Cheddar Cornbread I’ve been munching on for days now. This is seriously comfort food at its best and it’s so easy to whip up. I try to always have the ingredients on hand and you can find them at your local Latin market or food store. She’d glare at me for telling you this, but Wela always kept canned peppers in her pantry. That was her way of making sure they were always on hand for last-minute guests and midnight cravings. La Morena is the first brand I reach for!
Now it’s your turn to try La Morena! They are giving away 5 $200 Visa Gift Cards, enter to win below!
La Morena Lent Giveaway