If you were to walk into my home on any given evening, you would most likely be greeted by a harmony of aromas. You would also notice a hint of Sazon, my mom’s go-to seasoning, accompanied by whiffs of cilantro and garlic. A couple steps closer to the kitchen would reveal the sizzling of empanadas or tostones being fried to perfection. When everything comes together you’re transported out of my dining room and into a typical kitchen in Colombia, my family’s home country.
In the midst of Hispanic Heritage Month, I’m reminded of how much I miss home. September 15 to October 15 is dedicated to Spanish, Mexican, South and Central American people, offering space to celebrate the history, culture, and contributions of the hispanic community. Authentic hispanic cuisine is difficult to find in my town, let alone around Boston College. Thankfully, a variety of clubs, organizations, and offices coordinate events and meetings throughout the month. These events showcase typical foods and traditions, and they elicit important conversations about celebrating diversity.
Boston College is filled with latin flavor during this month. Various celebrations are held to highlight the rich culture and bold cuisines of the hispanic community. The Thea Bowman AHANA and Intercultural Center lead the way by planning a multitude of events. This year, the annual Opening Ceremony was held in Gasson, a stark contrast to the virtual format from last year. The ceremony, which featured a wide array of prominent hispanic faculty and staff, included a dinner that emulated traditional meals from hispanic countries. Throughout the month, the BAIC has also led efforts to highlight the Hispanic/LatinX community on campus in other ways. Whether through posting on social media or educating the student body on significant historical figures, the BAIC offers a taste of hispanic culture.
OLAA (Organization of Latin American Affairs) is another of many clubs on campus that puts together events for Hispanic Heritage Month. This year they were thrilled to organize a wide array of celebrations, shifting from the predominantly virtual model of last year as well. Mikayala Sanchez (MCAS ‘23), co-director of social and political actions of the OLAA, expressed how appreciative she was of the events organized this month. She talked about an OLAA event where they played traditional games such as Loteria and dominoes while eating food that reminded her of home. Sanchez described that while she and her friends have family in many different Latin American countries, food is one of the things that brings everyone together and makes BC feel like a home away from home.
While my mom holds the culinary skills to replicate a traditional hispanic meal, I have not been lucky enough in my own kitchen while at school. I’ll sometimes joke to her that I wish she could ship my roommates and I meals from home with the slightest hope that she’ll catch on and find a way to do so. Until then, I, like many of my fellow hispanic peers, cherish home-cooked meals during school breaks and a taste of my roots through BC cultural celebrations.