Salsa Musings

Want a super quick and easy recipe for salsa? My husband taught me this one, in fact he’s pretty much taught me how to cook! (Yep my husband rocks)

All you need is:
2 or 3 large tomatoes
Three or five hot peppers (jalapeños, or serranos which are spicier) make sure to remove stems
A garlic clove, medium size to large
Salt to taste

Heat up a saucepan of water with the tomatoes and chiles until the skins are peeling off the tomatoes and the peppers are soft.

Peel the garlic, pop it in the blender, and in this order add chiles and then tomatoes. Blend until everything is liquidy. Add salt.

If you want you can then heat the salsa with already fried onions to give it more flavor. Serve with beans or eggs and tortillas- makes a healthy dinner! Also a Lent friendly meal!

Now for the musing… I gave it my best shot, but I can’t find the article I read that cast a gloom on my day some weeks back. I was heavily pregnant, so I spent the majority of my time reading. To give the gist, it was yet another article bemoaning supposed “Hispanic” resistance to assimilation. What was probably meant was “The Mexicans”, since I have never heard any moaning about Guatemalans or Bolivians.

What hurt is that it came from a Catholic, spoke directly about Catholics themselves, and then referenced the apparent success of German Catholics in assimilating to American culture.

For one thing, I am not so sure that assimilating to American culture is so good for Catholics in general. As a group we are basically distinguishable from other Americans, with all the resistance to legitimate authority and love of immorality that entails. For another, I am, for what little it is worth, a German American Catholic. I am also the mother to a little girl who is Mexican-German American with other added bits of Europe.

Assimilation. It frustrates me to no end that I have basically very little to no culture of my own that hasn’t been swallowed up in the bland Protestant/secular culture. I don’t speak German, except for a couple of phrases I didn’t know were German until high school. German food? Saur kraut and brats. That’s it. I only make it store bought too. Music? Do norteños count, since they’ve often got a polka beat? Oops, that’s not American, right?

A lot of the sins mentioned in the article had to do with language and how people relate to one another. There was a definite sense of disgust at the idea of Spanish language Masses. While I am in agreement that some level of assimilation is necessary to help people get along and understand one another, I do not believe that comes at the expense of language and culture. Don’t use the Spanish Mass to separate people, as has happened in some churches, but don’t go rating it all a big success when you make an entire group of people feel so ashamed that they forget their language.

My grandpa was shamed into not speaking the German he knew. He was told it was low class, and borderline traitorous, even though just a generation before him there were German bilingual schools that were not discouraged. And there was pressure even from the Church for him to forget his culture. Guess what? He did, and it probably helped him to become a very racist old man. After all, he had to be forced to forget his culture- why should a bunch of Spanish speaking brown people get away with keeping theirs?

The article I read bemoaned that Bishops are supporting Hispanic culture and communities. I celebrate it, as long as unity as Catholics above all is maintained. By the way, I find it funny that the article slams Spanish Masses in the United States but makes no mention of the Polish Masses. Too white, perhaps? What about Vietnamese Masses? Too little of a minority to be a threat to the perfectly Protestantized white male?

I wouldn’t want to meet that writer in real life. It was very pretty racism that he wrote, and as eloquent as it was it was still racism. Other than the parts of American culture that I dislike (the push to have sex, defy legitimate authority, above all to conform to every damned new fad) I want my daughter to be able to have all of her culture.

That means her cumbias, the 3 Kings, La Virgen, quinceañera, and yes her SPANISH language as well as her Santa, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, meat loaf, rock music. That means she gets Shakespeare and La Celestina, her playdoh and her tortillerita, her chiquihuite and her breadbox.

When I see assimilate, all I can think of is “conform conform conform”. My German American family did that and we lost ourselves. We are just like all the rest of America- we all divorce, we all have similar levels of employment, underage pregnancy, multiple marriages, political views, abortion, contraceptive use, an inability to give the slightest care to anything our Holy Father teaches, rudeness, consumerism, and on and on.

All I can think is that’s what I should want for my daughter? That’s what I should push for in my Church?

No wonder so many Hispanic Catholics are leaving the Church in the US. Not only do we have terrible catechesis, but despite the efforts of Bishops and other clergy the common Catholic is still running around screaming “assimilate! Conform! Assimilate to Americanism or leave the Church!”

And then we are all surprised when Hispanic/Latino people actually start doing all of that.

I have seen ugliness from Catholics on both sides. I go to some Spanish Masses or some English Masses and from both I have gotten the impression that people equate their nationality or race with their religion. I get glared at or stared at for being a white lady at a Spanish Mass (and some o the glares deepen when I know my prayers in Spanish). My husband gets glared at and hears comments about illegals for being a very brown, very Spanish speaking Mexican. That’s not acceptable. The answer is not to make us all the same culture. We already have a shared culture- Catholicism, and it very much hated by the surrounding culture.

The next decade is going to be difficult for us. So please let’s not harp on the evils of speaking a different language and living the culture that made us who we are.


Cinnamon, Azucar, and Spice

This is the umpteenth blog I have made, lets hope this one doesn’t crash and burn into obscurity!

The last blog I had almost had some success. Almost. But alas, I had very narrowed interests coupled with a tendency to be verbose. In short, to sum up, etc yada yada- it was boring to all but a chosen few other boring people.

But this time- it SHALL be different!

I hope to share with you my spicy, multilingual, bicultural and sometimes tri-cultural world. So prepare for recipes, politics, parenting ideas, religion, rants, and hopefully sublime meditations on whatever is piquing my interest. Feel free to comment, leave suggestions, and do anything but leave poor grammar and spam all over the place!

Excuse my poor blog design- I will change it later- Promise!!