Tengo Hambre

I’ve never been a picky eater. In school, I was the weird girl that brought in tomatoes and mozzarella for snack while everybody else ate chips or Oreo cookies.

I grew up around food. I grew up in kitchens filled with busy and sweaty family members, around tables occupied by munching mouths and smiling faces.

On my father’s side, a born-and-raised Argentinian from La Pampa, I have experienced family reunions that circle around the kitchen. The taste of all sorts of meat, potato salads and my grandmother’s classic dulce de leche govern my visits to Argentina. At the Maglione home, food isn’t just a necessity; it’s more like a religion, an honored activity, completed with love and care. It brings our family together, closer with the more churrasco, alfajores and tortas fritas we share.

From my mother’s side, a Puerto Rican of Cuban descent, food is all about expressing culture. Through asopao, lechón and mofongo, my family is able to tell stories of hard work, of celebration and of tradition. Whenever we join together to celebrate Thanksgiving or Christmas, food is always the center of our gatherings.

It’s through food that I got to know the island I call home. My family moved from Argentina, my birthplace, to the Dominican Republic when I was three (thinking it was only temporary) and never left. Because of my love for tostones, sancocho, and pastelistos, I can call myself a true Dominican.

My friends always laugh at my passion for a well-cooked meal. I enjoy every bite, and there’s nothing I don’t taste. Food brings people together, just as it can help people to identify themselves as different from each other. I can stare at a menu for hours (and I love doing so), overwhelmed by all the choices I could take. Through food I take risks and I explore different cultures and traditions.

I am always hungry and I always will be.