I was incredibly excited when the DC Culinarian made his proclamation that May was to be Mexican month. After all, people, this is my soul food. I spent nearly every summer in Mexico as a child and my Abuelita would often come and stay with my family for a few months out of every year. She would spend hours in the kitchen preparing our favorite foods and, when in DC, would scour the city for hard-to-come-by Mexican ingredients, which were few and far between in the 70s and 80s (did I just date myself? MOVING ON).
I was always intimidated to try out Abuelita’s recipes. After all, they were never ever written down, never measured. Whenever we would ask how she made something, she would pretend not to know. “A little of this and a little of that." I think she was guarding her role as the Awesome Abuelita, Producer of All Things Delicious.
Side Note: There is a concept, cultural perhaps, but certainly propagated by grannies worldwide, that silent suffering is noble but laying on a guilt trip is more satisfying. You know, I worked SO HARD. It took me FOREVER. But I did it for you…because I love you. And she did do it because she loved me. No doubt about it.
Sadly, the years of feasting at Abuelita’s table have come to an end as Alzheimer's has robbed her ability to do many things, including cooking. Even worse, because recipes were not written, but prepared by memory, they are locked in the vault of her mind and no one has the key.
Now that I have thoroughly depressed you, please know that this story has a happy ending. Imagine my delight and glee when about 2 years ago, my mother came across a folded piece of paper, tucked in a letter from the late 1970s where Abuelita had written down a recipe for her daughter, thousands of miles away, and homesick like crazy. Not only that, but the recipe is one of my all-time favorites – Arroz con Leche, or rice pudding. Victory!!!
Imagine, also, my great surprise to find out that there is nothing difficult at all about preparing Arroz con Leche. So much for all that "suffering". Abuelita, the gig is up. I am about to break all of her rules and share her recipe on the Internet. But it is worth it. Super easy, ultimate comfort food, commonly served in Mexico. It’ll do your soul some good.
*note: I eliminated the raisins, which the DC Culinarian hates. HAAAATES. With a hot fiery passion not unsimilar to the burning heat of a thousand suns. HAAAAAATES. But for all of you normal people, you can add them in.
Additional photo and recipe below the jump.