Food without hot sauce is not food, not for me. Food without flavor is only a digestible good – not one that will enrich your soul and make your tastebuds explode with flavor. To me, food is sacred, important, and a part of who I am. Who I am as an Asian, when I decide to eat mustard leaves and noodles, and who I am as a Latina, when I’m presented with arroz con pollo, come together thanks to both cultures affinities to food. Yum. It’s so good I’m both.
That’s what being Latina means to me. Being a Latina descendant of Chinese who grew up near the Caribbean coast and speaking patois, I ate “picante” (hot sauce) since I was little. My mom used to put hot sauce on my thumb to make me stop sucking it, and I couldn’t care less. I kept doing it; I didn’t care she had just dipped it in hot sauce. I don’t know what my life would be without spice.
I put spice on everything – not only on food. My hips follow the rhythm of salsa, even when I’m cleaning the house. My Spanish is filled with slang, words so locally and culturally charged, that they are only understood by other Panamanians. My body language is warm, as I greet people with a kiss on the cheek. Picante translates itself automatically with my personal definition of being a Latina.
Of course, there are many Latinos who don’t like picante. Then, what does being Latino mean to them? I’ve started to manage another blog for the Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, where students have a voice. How is the Hispanic market evolving? What does it mean for them to be Latino? These are questions answered. Stop by and let us know what being Latino means to you by visiting hmcfsu.wordpress.com