Family traditions handed down


Anette Hernandez Diaz, Staff Writer

My favorite cultural dish is “La Bandera” which literally translates to “The Flag” in English. This staple dish originated from the Dominican Republic and has been served for over 181 years on the island since 1840 when the Dominicans declared their independence from Haiti. You may even ask how La Bandera represents the red, white, and blue? The meat represents the blue in the flag, which stands for liberty. It is a colorful meal that matches the colors of the country’s flag and consists of rice, red beans, meat, and salad. The dish itself is very popular because it has a unique mixture of African, Spanish, and Taino Indian herbs and sauces.

Growing up as a child with mixed ethnicities, my parents took it upon themselves to introduce both my cultures to me. They both accomplished this with food and flavors that satisfied my food pallet. My father was half Dominican so he would actually teach me how to make some of his favorite childhood dishes. I remember my father always waking me up early to start seasoning the meat and getting all the ingredients put together for lunch. He would tell me stories about his ancestors and how he was passing down the secret ingredients to me to teach my children one day. The cultural dish became my favorite because it was a way I could feel connected to my roots without needing to have been in that country itself. It is also my favorite because it is nourishing and delicious to eat at any time of the day.

I would say it is traditional for other Dominican families, however for me it is rarely made although it is my favorite. I have tried to make it but it doesn’t taste the same as it did when i was a little child. All the love and hard work put into it is not the same without my dad. However, I hope to make it again one day and maybe even with my own child because then it might taste better.