Elena Ruz Sandwich

Elena Ruz Sandwich

Quite a few years ago I went to Miami and had my first Cuban Sandwich which I fell in love with. Upon arriving home eventually a craving hit but Cuban Sandwiches are hard to come by this far north. I researched recipes and while doing so, I stumbled upon a different kind of Cuban sandwich called the “Elena Ruz” and an interesting story about how it came to be.

According to Wikipedia, Elena Ruz was a young society debutante in 1930′s Cuba who would stop at a popular Havana restaurant called El Carmelo. Each time Elena visited the restaurant she requested they make her something that they didn’t have on the menu – a sandwich to her specifications prepared on medianoche bread with cream cheese, strawberry jam, and thin slices of turkey breast. Eventually El Carmelo put the sandwich on the menu, calling it, por supuesto, the Elena Ruz.

For some reason the odd combination seemed appealing to me, so I tried the sandwich, using King’s Hawaiian Rolls as a substitute for medianoche bread, (which I’ve never seen sold around here.) This Cuban sandwich also became a favorite of mine. If you want to give it a try, here’s how I make it.

Elena Ruz Sandwich

You need:

sliced turkey
cream cheese
strawberry jelly
King’s Hawaiian Rolls
butter

Directions:

1. Slice Hawaiian rolls open. Spread cream cheese on the bottom half and strawberry jelly on the top half.
2. Put a few slices of turkey on top of the cream cheese and close the sandwich.
3. Grease a non-stick skillet or griddle with a little butter over medium heat. Toast the sandwich on one side, applying gentle pressure with a spatula. Flip and do the same to the other side.
4. Serve warm!

Free Phone Calls to Latin America!

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Disclosure: Latinaish.com has partnered with Cricket Wireless as a 2014 Blog Ambassador. All opinions are my own.

Just wanted to let you all know, Cricket Wireless is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by inviting you to their stores to make a free phone call to amigos or familia in Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, Peru, Spain and Venezuela from October 1st to October 3rd. Check with your local Cricket location to see if they’re participating!

For more from Cricket Wireless ambassadors, follow the #VidaConCricket hashtag and @MiCricket on Twitter.

Back When Clair Huxtable Was Dominican

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Played by Phylicia Rashād, Clair Huxtable on The Cosby Show has always been one of my favorite T.V. characters for a multitude of reasons, but one of those reasons is the dash of Spanish she brought to the series. If you didn’t know, Rashād is bilingual English/Spanish. Born in Houston, Texas, her family moved to Mexico when she was a child to escape racism in the United States – and that’s how she learned the language.

While Clair’s character remained bilingual throughout the series, Bill Cosby had originally wanted the character to be Dominican. The character of Clair was inspired by I Love Lucy’s Ricky Ricardo, and like Ricky Ricardo, she would speak Spanish when angry. If you listen closely in the pilot episode of The Cosby Show, you can hear Clair speaking Spanish to the kids as she’s coming down the stairs, saying ¡No me digas que no, ey, porque de todas maneras tú lo tienes que hacer!

In another early episode, Clair is portrayed as a mother raising the children to be bilingual. In this scene Clair answers the phone and speaks Spanish. After the phone call, Rudy speaks to her mother in Spanish, with Cliff in the middle looking confused. (Clair speaks Spanish throughout this episode. Watch from 1:41 to 2:42, then 4:34 to 4:41, 14:22 to 15:00, and 16:18 to 17:10.)

I can’t really say that I wish they had kept Clair as Dominican and made the kids bilingual as the series went on – as amazing as that would have been – because I loved the show exactly as it was and it was a historically very important show, not just in the United States, but around the world. That being said, I’m still wondering where the Latino Cosby Show is and hoping it will happen sooner rather than later.

Better Together (Mejor Juntos)

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This post is sponsored by Nescafé. Product for review has been received as well as compensation for my time. As always, all opinions are my own.

Some things are just better together – pupusas and curtido, churros and chocolate, arroz con pollo – and Carlos feels the same way about creamer and coffee.

Carlos wakes up before the sun rises to go to work each morning and he doesn’t always have time to make his coffee the way he likes it, with plenty of vanilla creamer and a few spoons of sugar. Problem solved with Nescafé’s new 2-in-1 product which combines their instant coffee with Nestlé Coffee-mate!

You just mix 2 tablespoons of the powder with hot water and ¡Ya está! – Carlos’s perfect cup of coffee.

I used to drink my coffee like Carlos but over a year or two ago I made the transition to black coffee. Nevertheless I gave the Nescafé with Coffee-mate a try and it was really creamy with the perfect amount of sweetness. The French Vanilla is the favorite at our house – Carlos, our teenage boys and I all unanimously agreed it’s the best, but the Hazelnut is a close second. If you prefer unflavored creamer there’s a third option called “Original.”

Want to give it a try? Check out the giveaway below!

—-Giveaway closed. Congratulations, Angela.—-

GIVEAWAY DETAILS

Prize description: One lucky winner will receive a two week supply of the new Nescafé & Coffee-mate products.

How to enter: Just head over to Twitter and tweet about other foods that go “better together” (peanut butter and jelly, for example!) using the #NescaféCoffeemate hashtag. Once you have tweeted, come back here and leave the direct URL link to your tweet in comments below. (Please read official rules below before entering.)

Official Rules: No purchase necessary. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. You must be able to provide a U.S. address for prize shipment. Your name and address will only be shared with the PR agency responsible for prize fulfillment for that purpose. Please no P.O. Boxes. One entry per household. Make sure that you enter a valid email address in the email address field so you can be contacted if you win. Winner will be selected at random. Winner has 24 hours to respond. If winner does not respond within 24 hours, a new winner will be selected at random. Giveaway entries are being accepted between September 29th, 2014 through October 1st, 2014. Entries received after October 1st, 2014 at 11:59 pm EST, will not be considered. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. If you win, by accepting the prize, you are agreeing that Latinaish.com assumes no liability for damages of any kind. By entering your name below you are agreeing to these Official Rules. Void where prohibited by law.

Buena suerte / Good luck!

Silbar La Vieja

Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Mirando “Domingo Para Todos” Carlos empezó a reír cuando gente en la audiencia estaban silbando. El silbido fue muy distino y de tres latidos – dos cortos y uno un poco más largo. Como “¡Fi-Fi Ffuuu!”

“¿Qué significa este silbido?” pregunté yo.

Carlos me explicó que este silbido se llama “la vieja” y en El Salvador es igual a decir “tu madre.” (O sea, es un insulto.) El silbido es muy utilizado en los estadios por insultar al árbitro cuando él hace una mala decisión, o si tienes la necesidad de insultar a alguien que está lejos. Si uno está manejando un carro y quiere utilizar el silbido con otro conductor, también se puede hacer “la vieja” con la bocina.

Carlos aceptó gentilmente a dar una demostración.

Parece una habilidad útil. Tal vez debería empezar a usar el silbido con gente que me enojan si no son salvadoreños. Silbar “la vieja” me ofrece la oportunidad de expresar lo que estoy pensando y la otra persona sólo pensará que estoy loca. Ningún daño hecho!

(Image source: Steven Depolo)

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

While watching “Domingo Para Todos” Carlos started to laugh when people in the audience were whistling. The whistle was very distinctive and had three beats – two short beats, followed by one a little bit longer. Like, “Sss-Sss Srrr!”

“What does that whistle mean?” I asked.

Carlos explained to me that the whistle is called “la vieja” [the old lady] and in El Salvador it’s the same as saying “tu madre” [your mother/yo mama]… In other words, it’s an insult. The whistle is very useful in soccer stadiums to insult the referee when he makes a bad call, or if you need to insult someone from a distance. If you’re driving in a car and want to make use of the whistle when angry with another driver, you can even imitate the sound with your car horn.

Carlos graciously agreed to give a demonstration.

Seems like a useful skill. Maybe I should start using the whistle with non-Salvadorans who make me angry. Whistling “la vieja” offers me the opportunity to express what I’m thinking and the other person will only think that I’m crazy. No harm done!

(Image source: Steven Depolo)

Bilingual Brain Freeze

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Today is Spanish Friday so this post is in Spanish. If you participated in Spanish Friday on your own blog, leave your link in comments. Scroll down for English translation!

Anteayer mi hijo menor me dijo que hay una nueva estudiante en su escuela que sólo habla español y está en un programa especial para los niños que no hablan inglés. En el pasillo entre clases una compañera bilingüe le presentó mi hijo a la nueva chica y le dijo a la chica, “Si necesitas ayuda, también puedes hablar con él porque habla español.” Bueno, mi hijo estaba feliz de ayudar pero me dijo que desafortunadamente su cerebro se congeló y le costaba recordar palabras que quiso decir, aunque entendió todo lo que estaban diciendo. La nueva chica estaba buscando la clase de un maestro que se llama Mr. Cooper.

En vez de decir, “La clase del Sr. Cooper no está en la planta baja. Tienes que ir arriba” – mi hijo tuvo que decir, “La clase de Mr. Cooper no aquí. Mr. Cooper allá,” y señaló con el dedo.

Cuando mi hijo me contó lo que pasó, me sentí como un fracaso. Hablamos demasiado inglés en casa. Es mi culpa su español no es mejor, y es culpa de Carlos también.

Por otra parte, estoy orgullosa de él porque encontró una manera de comunicarse aunque no era perfecta, y más orgullosa porque me dijo que “Fue un poco vergonzoso pero yo quería ayudar.” Cuando uno no habla un idioma con fluidez, es mucho más fácil sucumbir al miedo y no decir nada que buscar el coraje de hablar.

Lo que le falta en la fluidez, lo compensa con una buena actitud y corazón.

[ENGLISH TRANSLATION]

The day before yesterday my younger son told me that there was a new student in his school who only speaks Spanish and is in a special program at school for kids who don’t speak English. In the hallway a bilingual classmate introduced my son to the new girl and said to the girl, “If you need help, you can also talk to him because he speaks Spanish.” Well, my son was happy to help but he told me unfortunately his brain froze up and it was really difficult for him to remember the words he wanted to say, even though he understood everything they were saying. The new girl was looking for the classroom of a teacher named Mr. Cooper.

Instead of saying, “Mr. Cooper’s class isn’t on the ground floor. You have to go upstairs” – my son had to say, “Mr. Cooper’s class no here. Mr. Cooper there,” and pointed his finger.

When my son told me what happened, I felt like a failure. We speak too much English at home. It’s my fault his Spanish isn’t better, and it’s Carlos’s fault too.

On the other hand, I’m proud of him because he found a way to communicate even though it wasn’t perfect, and I’m even prouder because he told me “It was a little embarrassing but I wanted to help.” When one doesn’t speak a language fluently, it’s much easier to succumb to fear and say nothing rather than find the courage to speak.

What he lacks in fluency, he more than makes up for in a good attitude and heart.

SUN BELT EXPRESS – immigration, humor and corazón

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When I was contacted two years ago by producer Evan Buxbaum about his script for SUN BELT EXPRESS, I was hesitant. He wanted to make a film about undocumented immigrants that “could find some of the humor and light, in what is typically a very dark subject.” I asked myself, is that possible? Can one mix humor and such a serious topic?

In the end I agreed to be a beta-reader because Evan seemed very sincere and I thought it was wise of him to verify authenticity in the dialogue and seek opinions of those close to the topic at hand.

I read his script in its entirety and ended up loving it. Evan thanked me for the feedback and I hadn’t really thought much about his project since then, but this week Evan contacted me again – the film has been completed and will be premiering in the U.S. this October. (Check www.sunbeltexpressmovie.com for locations and dates.)

Today I had the opportunity to watch the full-length finished film and found it very much worth sharing with all of you. My review is below, but in short, I encourage you all to support the film and go see it if you’re able to. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

(Full disclosure: As stated, I was a beta-reader for the SUN BELT EXPRESS script and as such you can see my name in the film credits under general “thanks”, however this review reflects only my honest opinion.)

Review – SUN BELT EXPRESS

Allen King (Tate Donovan) is a divorced Ethics professor in southern Arizona who, accused of plagiarism and fired, is forced to commute daily to his new teaching job across the border in Mexico. The money he makes isn’t enough to keep up with his own bills or car maintenance, let alone meet the financial demands of his ex-wife (Rachel Harris) or pay his teenage daughter’s private school tuition. To supplement his income, Allen gets wrapped up in smuggling Mexican immigrants across the border in the trunk of his beat up 1972 Volvo.

Things get complicated when his teenage daughter (India Ennenga) mistakenly thinks her father is doing something altruistic and unexpectedly tags along for the ride. Add in a pregnant ex-girlfriend (Ana de la Reguera), three Mexican men in the trunk, two corrupt U.S. Border Patrol agents, and an overheated car that breaks down at the worst possible moment, and you have a situation that would seem to be no laughing matter – but that’s where you’d be wrong.

Mexicans have a dicho – “Al mal tiempo, buena cara” – which means put on a good face during bad times. Be positive; it’s an attitude shared by many Latin Americans. And while most films on immigration show the heartbreaking reality, the difficult choices made, the perilous journey – SUN BELT EXPRESS is a rare exploration into the humor of this mostly solemn situation.

Talk long enough to a person who immigrated illegally to the United States – more often than not, they will have a funny story or two to tell about their journey. My own husband has told me stories about a guy who accompanied him and carried a bottle of Pepto-Bismol like a hip flask which he regularly took sips from “to help with his nerves.” During another part of his journey, he wasn’t able to turn off a broken sink in a motel bathroom and chaos ensued.

For me, the brilliance of the film SUN BELT EXPRESS is found in moments like this. The dialogue between “passengers” Rafi and Miguel in the trunk is the main highlight. Rafi (Oscar Avila), who is somewhat fat, makes a stressful situation even more stressful for Miguel (Arturo Castro), who happens to be claustrophobic. If lack of space wasn’t enough of a problem, Rafi is quite generous with stories about all the adventures he’s had trying to cross the border before, although he’s only been caught “cinco, seis veces…o lo mucho siete.” The chemistry between these two actors is fantastic, and the friendship that blooms between them on screen made me smile as much as the well-acted humorous lines which are never crass but full of corazón.

SUN BELT EXPRESS contains plenty of entertainment in the form of humor, but it’s well-balanced by a bigger message. Serious themes including morality and political corruption are an essential part of the plot but the film never comes across as preachy. In the end, the deeply flawed protagonist redeems himself and the film succeeds at traversing the difficult border between heartfelt humor and hurtful ridicule when dealing with extremely sensitive subject matter. SUN BELT EXPRESS is a daring, fresh take on the immigration journey which is just as likely to spark important conversation as it is laughter.