Sabor a Casa…with Coca Cola

Friday, December 16, 2016

Living away from where I was born and raised is extremely hard…especially during the Holiday season.  This is the second Christmas I’m going to spend away from my family, so I need to find little ways to feel at home. And I did… I felt at home 2,130 miles away from it. Eating my hallaca, with a CocaCola …just like when I was a kid!

The first thing I did was decorate my house. This year I put garlands around the house, Christmas lights, a small tree, stockings…so much fun! But my husband and I decided to go to NYC for a little over a week. Little did I know that I was going to get even more homesick in New York (thousands of miles away from Caracas, where I grew up). Yes, it had to do with the gorgeous Holiday decorations, the Christmas music in every corner, the tree at the Rockefeller center.

December 1st at my house marked the day of “ The hallaca season” (traditional Venezuelan food during the Holidays- regularly paired with “chicken salad” and “pan de jamón”)- not only making them but also trying the ones friends and family make. Nobody says this out lout but internally we all judge to see whose hallacas was better…in bias, my mom’s hallacas are simply the most delicious ever.

Knowing I especially missed “el sabor casa”, as soon as my husband saw me all sentimental, he suggested we should go to our favorite Venezuelan restaurant in NYC, called Caracas Arepa Bar… As a kid, my hallaca was always paired with Coca-Cola- which was always present in our family get-togethers and Holiday meals. 

The traditional Holiday dish from Venezuela takes a little to prepare (the hallacas are prepared in hundreds beforehand, but they have to be boiled before serving). And while I waited and sipped my Coca-Cola, I was nervous. Would it meet my expectations? Would it taste like home? This lady over here is picky…and I have to say I was not disappointed! The whole meal was delicious. I don’t know if it was the final touch of the Coca-Cola childhood memories, the Venezuelan flag across the table, and the yummy flavour…but I felt at home….2130 miles away from it.

Photography by: Gabriel Sanchez (my husband)

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