I have a list of things I want to do. One of them is to cook every recipe in a cookbook so I’m working my way through Rick Bayless’ Everyday Mexican. I’ve eaten a lot of good stuff. This series is the record of those adventures.
This dish will always bring me great memories. It was homey and comforting on a late fall night: full of fire-roasted tomatos, roasted poblano chiles, savory pork and sweet onions. As usual though the dish wasn't overly important, it's just a tool to set the stage for special times with the people you love.
We cooked this dish for Elian's godparents the night of his baptism's rehearsal/anointing. The anointing is a special service for the parents and godparents in which the child is blessed with holy oil. Elian is not known for his sedate, retiring personality but on the night of his anointing he suddenly turned into a small adult, wise beyond his years. He sat next to me politely singing along and when it was his turn to be blessed he smiled seriously at Sister Peggy who rubbed oil on his chest and forehead. After he had been anointed he turned to me, touched his chest and made the sign of the cross on my forehead. Satisfied with his work he hopped off his chair and I watched his little hands repeat the process with his godparents and father.
Like so many good memories, the night began with a shared meal, but when ever I eat this dish I'll think of the time spent with friends who generously offered to stand with us at the altar and commit to love our child as Jesus did. I'll think of how we all attended his blessing together and remember how our son impulsively blessed us back. I'll think of his tiny fingers, fragrant with blessed oil crossing their heads with far more authority than any toddler should posses. It's a lot of memories for one little dish to bear, but this dish is a classic, rich and comforting, just like being with the ones you love.