Traditions: Saturday Salsa

DSC_0822It’s a bunch of tomato-y goodness: peppers, onions, tomatoes, tomatillos, serranos, cilantro. …

But it’s more than all that.

It’s tradition.

It’s fall, it’s football, it’s baseball, it’s beat-up-coffeetable, it’s watching TV from the floor, it’s Sunday brunches, it’s gold bowl, it’s Saturdays, it’s Sundays.

It’s Superman’s salsa.

He’s been making this concoction since we got married or so. He started putting it together himself, then kept adding and refining until he got it just right – just the right number of Serrano chilis, just the right amount of El Pato tomato sauce. And now it’s perfect.

He makes it every “big game day.” So he’s been making it a lot lately (as our Angels are in the playoffs, our UCLA is playing again, and pro football is back on every Sunday).

He gets up on Saturday mornings, throws on some shorts, runs across the street to the supermarket and gets a million of those little vegetable baggies and fills them up with all the secret ingredients. The supermarket checkout lady knows him, and knows he’s the guy who buys tomatillos, because no one else is sure what tomatillos are used for.

I know the sound of his knife in the kitchen on Saturday morning as he starts cutting everything into tiny little pieces. Sometimes he uses a food processor for part of it, but if he has time he likes to do everything by hand. I know the look of his hands when he halves the onion, and the sound of the knife against the cutting board, and the way the light comes through the window on those particular fall mornings. I know the way the cilantro smells, and the way he always has the game on in the corner of the kitchen. It’s one of the things I adore about him.

Superman’s salsa even made a guest appearance in my “Earning Wings” manuscript – it’s what Adam makes for Simone in the kitchen after they search for the box. I put it in the book because it’s a little romantic to me, and a little sexy, and very traditional, and speaks to me of a kind of love and passion and care-giving.

So tell me – do you have a recipe in your life that’s a little special?

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8 thoughts on “Traditions: Saturday Salsa

  1. I may be the biggest holiday scrooge in the world but I LOVE holiday baking!! Many years ago I found a recipe for pumpkin cheesecake–it’s to die for! And we usually have it for thanksgiving (BTW I have a really good friend who shared her Peppermint Cheesecake recipe w/us and we now do that one for Christmas!). Anyway…I added the recipe to Once in a Blue Moon…and I’m SURE I’ve done more, I just can’t recall off the top of my head.

  2. Amie — Great story. So did you add the cheesecake to “Once in a Blue Moon” because it’s so delicious, or did it seem to represent something else to you (and to the characters in the book)? Like embracing the holidays? Or embracing only ONE aspect of the holidays? 🙂

  3. Wow Laurie, I had no clue you felt that way about my salsa prep. I knew you enjoyed the salsa, but the detail that you observed moves me. It makes me feel good that it pleases you in more ways than simple taste.
    Whenever I prepare anything for our family I do it with love and I do it so that you all feel comforted and in part well taken care of; it is very pleasing to see that you notice that and so much more. It also makes me happy that the kids like it so much and consider it one of our special “Sanchez” family secrets that they want me to pass down to them…heaven!
    And don’t worry, I will be making that salsa until the day I die. As a matter of fact I hope to leave this world (in my old age) while making that salsa. Ok, ok let’s make that my 2nd choice of things I’d like to be doing when I leave this world… 😉

  4. Laurie, you and Superman are too cute! I wish he would share the recipe with someone who lives in another part of the country. 😉

    As for special recipes, I wish I had gotten my Dad to tell me how he made his Dirty Rice before he passed away. He’d make it for pot-luck parties that he and my Mom went to when I was little. The huge pot always came back empty, so I had to make sure I got some before they left.

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  8. Kyra — I would love to share the salsa recipe someday, but believe it or not, Superman won’t even share it with ME! He’s secretly told one of the kids, but he keeps it close to the vest and claims it can only be handed down from father to child. (Harrrumph!) (And don’t think I’ve tried to take a peek in the mornings — I have! I know the ingredients, but I’m not entirely sure of the amounts. … I might have to be a secret agent for a bit. …)

    Anyway, that’s sweet that you so fondly remember your dad’s Dirty Rice recipe. (I don’t know what that is, but it sounds interesting.) And that’s an important point about asking for those “special” recipes from our loved ones before they leave us. I wish I got my mother-in-law’s recipe for her homemade tortillas before she passed away, too. …

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