How Latin-American Meals Bring Your Family Together

How Latin-American Meals Bring Your Family Together

Read how food and rituals surrounding meals resonate and bind families together.

Families have long searched for ways to get together around a meal. Although it began with survival, eating together became a ritual: the ancient rite of prolonging life through food. With every dish we eat, we absorb nutrition and experience joy and companionship.

In Argentina, folks enjoy pasta dishes; roasted pig reigns in the Caribbean; pozole in Mexico; pachamanca in the Ecuadorian and Peruvian Andes, and in the Pacific, coastline dwellers enjoy steamy curanto.

For many first and second generation Latinos living in the United States, holidays like Thanksgiving have become an opportunity to adopt a new excuse to get the family together. There is when we combine the traditional turkey with arroz con gandules, tamales or frijoles. What’s important is to celebrate our heritage, and express it through flavors that bring us back to our origins.

Celebrating Your Heritage through Food

Regardless of cultures, almost every get-together repeats more or less the same elements. A day before, or early in the morning, there is the team who go to the grocery for supplies. Then, mid-morning brings the elite team of culinary experts (comprised of mamás and abuelas), to devise a plan and divide and conquer. The kitchen is transformed into an orchestra, from where aromas, flavors and marvels are produced for the enjoyment of the family.


Become a member of P&G everyday and get exclusive offers!

Become a member

Often the elders cook, and the younger family members help out in the kitchen with other tasks, or they organize the table, dishware and silverware. So everyone has their particular role – which is essential to maintaining a family unit. In some families, the elders will even make speeches. In others, children are seated at a separate “kids” table.

I remember la nonna, who performed miracles in her kitchen. Her generosity was so expansive that we couldn’t believe how she alone could produce such abundant and delicious meals.

Once we eat and the desserts have made their way into the dining room, there is the wonderful sobremesa. This is when coffee arrives and someone may bring a guitar to the table. With a full stomach, the family goes on with the ancient ritual of storytelling, telling jokes, singing, or simply cultivating the happiness of just being together, one more time.

What’s your family’s most memorable mealtime tradition? Share below.

Complete your personal information

Please fill in the information marked with an asterisk to proceed; if you want to get tailored offers and content, don't forget to fill in the optional fields.