Passing Down Ancestral Recipes: Chef Yadi's Latin Lentils
#Classic Sofrito #Dinner #recipes #sofrito #vegan #vegetarian

Passing Down Ancestral Recipes: Chef Yadi's Latin Lentils

Chef Yadi shares her ancestral recipe in celebration of the history of her family matriarchs, in honor of Women's History Month.

Mar 06, 2024

By: Yadi Garcia | @happyhealthylatina

During Women’s History Month, we honor the important roles that us mujeres play in our families, and in society at large. Let us give thanks because we all came from one! 👏 As I come from a strong line of matriarchs, the women in my family have always played a central role in my herstory. They have especially impacted how I view the causes I have dedicated my life to: preservation of ancestral cooking, food justice and sovereignty, improving our connection to land, and growing our own food

This year marks an especially important chapter for me as I shift from not only a daughter, but now a matriarch with the birth of my first child, una hija. Cue the “We are the future ancestors” theme song, because what?! It's a surreal feeling and an unbelievable blessing that I’ve brought forth the next soon-to-be woman in our bloodline. My daughter carries the names of my grandmother and mami, Delilah Hope, namesake of Dalila Esperanza. When you go through this radical life shift, so many feelings, lessons and learnings immediately come up - and all at once.

Yadi with baby Delilah 

For me part of the responsibility and honor that I carry is introducing her to the history of the women in our family. Those who have passed on and watch over us as guardians, but whose contributions are an indelible part of the fabric of who we are today. For me the cocina, and the traditions, ingredients, and recipes that come out of it from the women in my family, are some of my most cherished contributions. I celebrate and say their names almost daily and weekly as I cook through our cultural foods and teach/share about them in the community.

Delilah with grandma

As my daughter nears the mark of transitioning to purees and solid foods, I have thought a lot about how this will be her first real introduction to the women's history in our family. My mother often talks about how my grandmother came from Santo Domingo when I was about six months old. My mother was back at work and I had become a picky eater refusing the jarred baby foods from big brand names she was buying. Within two weeks of my abuela living with us, I was knee-deep in loving homemade purees of platano (mangú), malanga, batata and tropical smoothies. It turns out your girl just wanted some Sazón and sabor in her food. The pull of the blood and roots is strong! I have always said I am the baby of two islands: Manhattan and the Dominican Republic. 



Day by day, as I watch my daughter grow, I think about how special it is that I get to give her the introduction to her first taste of home - the place where our ancestors came from. I get emotional at the thought that while my great-grandmother and grandmother are no longer physically with us, their recipes will connect my daughter directly to their teachings and love. Having a month to commemorate our impact is really important, because yes we should and deserve to take up space in the history books, but how you honor those contributions in your daily life year round is just as important. It is a foundational part of my daily gratitude. Some of the strongest and most important people in my life are women - from family, to friends and community, they inspire me daily.

Delilah with great grandmother

Here I leave you with one of the first recipes I am going to make for my daughter: Chef Yadi’s Latin Lentils. While I will introduce it to her without spices first and then gradually add them in, I feel good knowing that when that time comes, she's going to have her organic, Non-GMO Loisa seasonings and Sofrito line, made with high-quality, ancestral ingredients - because what we feed our families matter. It's a deeply nutritional, comforting and delicious recipe. It's based on my grandmother’s and mother’s Lentejas recipe, a dish I love and I hope my daughter will too.

May we each celebrate Women’s History Month and give thanks and praise to all the important mujerones in our own lives. 🙌 

Xoxo, Chef Yadi + Delilah