I am back once again from a trip to Tejas, its always a breath of fresh air to visit. The sites, sounds, smells of home and loved ones always makes way for inspiration. Something as simple as a candy wrapper took me back to a time with my special Chicana sister sharing silly moments and afternoons of laughter. These moments helped us get through another day. When we could forget about all the issues and challenges we faced as Chicanas in a corporate work world and would escape on our lunch time to reconnect with the unspoken ties that bind us as sisters. When with no one listening we could talk TexMex, turn up the music, share some laughs and a favorite candy bar.
I had to have one and I knew if I could find it it would be at Fiesta a very special kind of cross cultural grocery store. When you enter its like you step into a world market where national flags hang proudly over the aisles to identify specific foods you can only get from the Motherland, which ever one that might be for you and your ancestors.
Once again this multi-colored lively store didn't fail me. I found it; and after some must have additions to the basket of "things I miss" I made my way to the checkout. It was then that I was able to make new memories with my beloved about my passion for chocolate, marshmallow, and a special kind of jelly all wrapped in a shiny blue paper.
I am thinking of making an art quilt depicting not often shared cultural memories connected to food. Its a form of communication in and of itself and you cant have one with out the other. Different occasions call for must have foods; with the merging of different cultures, and generations there are changes. Like tamales for Christmas is a must but now you can have them anytime, I still struggle with this one. Barbacoa isn't just for Sunday mornings anymore and it might come with a side of Cheetos, and what about pan dulce they even sell it in the convenient stores in Tejas not just the bakery.
Well its things like this that my Chicana brothers and sisters will identify with; its our changing acculturation. I didn't say assimilation because some of us don't want to or cant let go of the traditions. Its the tossed salad vs. the melting pot idea. Its the American way right, merging into something new and we get to decide what that looks like. I believe we all have a culture its just a matter of reconnecting with the past one and identifying with the new one you live each day.
Being Chicana means we choose to blend our worlds to create a new one filled with traditions from our ancestors stirred up with ideas from our children. I think it might be fun to interview family and friends and see what art I can "cook up".