Hispanic families are steeped in culture and tradition, as their kitchens tend to reveal. Cooking is a craft learned by watching and doing. For some, it starts in childhood; for others, it begins when they marry.
While recipes and cookbooks are followed when baking, one’s hand is often the key to measuring and mixing. It’s all about having a feel for it—developing a finely honed understanding of what it takes to honor one’s culinary heritage.
Recipes are handed down through generations, according to research conducted by Practica Group LLC for Whirlpool. It’s rare to see food processors, toaster ovens and waffle irons in the kitchen.
Microwaves are a staple in many Hispanic homes, but they’re used primarily for defrosting and reheating, as opposed to cooking. Many Hispanics limit their use of American appliances because these devices imply less improvisation in preparing a meal. Unlike some American households, Hispanic cooks use the kitchen only for cooking, not for homework or paying bills.
Big sit-down breakfasts are still common on the weekends and sometimes during the week. Various combinations of eggs, meat, tortillas and beans are popular fare, along with pancakes, oatmeal and rice with milk.
Lunch has been greatly Americanized, mainly consisting of sandwiches and leftovers. Dinner, which almost always includes beans and rice, has also been affected by America’s snack culture: Some Hispanics admit that snacks and sweets, such as popcorn and sundaes, may even replace a more traditional dinner, according to Practica’s research.