"Are you making arroz con pollo?"

I'm picking up my mom for the weekend. 

Her presence here changes our routines in a variety of ways. For Jonathan, it means giving up his downstairs bedroom, because she has trouble getting up stairs (he's ok with that).  For Eric, it means sharing my attention and practicing his college Spanish (which is really pretty great). Her visits require me to think primarily in Spanish, and to speak loudly. Did I mention she was 92?

I am much more Cuban when my mom is here.

When she is here I indulge my Cuban food cravings - everyone is delighted by this. Amy or Adam will inevitably ask, "You've got Luza this weekend? What are you making?"  They have obviously connected their grandmother with their own Cuban-ness.  I spend most of my weekend in the kitchen with her, listening to her stories and making our favorite family dishes.

Everyone wants to vote on what we will be having when "the Grandma" gets here.  Amy and Lucy have mastered the arroz con pollo. That is our favorite family meal which we make for birthdays and Christmas Day.  But if Luza is here this becomes a special occasion.  The phone starts ringing with other cousins and "the  Question" - "what are you making for dinner?" (they're on to us)

I will pull out her recipe for "natilla" (a sweet custard) and listen to her tell me again how to stir it: "Taca. Taca. Taca." That's the sound the wooden spoon (it MUST be wooden!) makes. She says this as if that actually explains the procedure.  My kids laugh, "make her say it again!"

So now not only are we doing the happy dance because we will be having arr0z con pollo. There will be a fabulous natilla for dessert! 

Was that Helen who just called? Is she bringing the kids? Katie will be here with her boyfriend, and Natalie. This is turning into not only a fabulous dinner but a Continental Card Tournament.  In another culture this might be considered a bona-fide party.  For us it's just a warm up.  After we stuff ourselves and play cards all night, we will reminisce about how we would love to have churros and real hot chocolate.  I'm on it. 

I just ordered it from here

This weekend is shaping up to be a whole lot of Cuban fun! (is there any other kind?) Let the festivities begin!