Photo from Tasty Eats at Home
One of my fondest memories as a child is being at my Grandma’s house and smelling the delicious aroma of homemade tortillas, enchilada’s, rice, beans, and of course Menudo. Grandma served Menudo on different occasions, like for the holidays and a home remedy for when my cousins and I were sick. I remember one day my cousins and I were all sick with colds and Grandma made Menudo to help us get better. I was a very picky eater as a child and refused to eat anything that looked or even sounded “gross”, and Menudo was one of those foods. Of course I refused to eat it; Grandma, not taking no for an answer, gave me an ultimatum either eat the Menudo or eat a spoon full of her salsa, which was crazy hot and would not only clear your sinuses, but would also leave you without taste buds for a few hours. Being the smart kid I was, I chose to eat the soup. I took one bite, made a face to prove my point, and secretly enjoyed it. After that, I was hooked, and never again gave her any more problems when she would serve me a big bowl of menudo.
Not only was Menudo a big part of my Grandmother’s home remedies, but it was a big part of our family reunions. During these gatherings, which mainly took place during the summer, my family would party until almost three in the morning. It played a huge role in getting everyone up and ready for the activities of the day. I remember my aunts and uncles, looking like zombies, slowly making their way over to the table, and having themselves a big bowl of Menudo. Once they ate they seemed to come alive and then would join us kids at the volleyball net or the lake for some fun. Those trips will always bring a smile to face because this was the one time of year the whole family would come together, without any drama, and just have fun.
Having had my own experiences with the dreaded hangover, I know now that without that soup, the family reunions probably would not have been as much fun. I could only imagine how many times us kids would have been yelled at for being too loud, or how much trouble we would have gotten into with the adults trying to sleep off their hangovers.
There are so many great stories and memories that I have, with Menudo playing a big role in those memories, which is one reason I chose this dish to make. Another reason is my dad, the world’s pickiest eater, will actually eat it. Even though he loves food he won’t eat anything with onions, ketchup, cilantro, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, peas, and the list can go on and on. He once ordered a cheeseburger “with no cheese” and will refuse to eat anything ketchup has touched. I once got us some burgers that had cheese and ketchup on them, not wanting to drive back to the burger place, I stood in-front of the sink trying to remove any trace of cheese or ketchup from his burger before he got home. He somehow managed to find the one tiny piece of cheese that I had missed, and I had to make a trip back to the restaurant anyway.
I knew that for this my dish I would have to make something he will actually eat. Already knowing how to make many of the foods he will eat, I figured I would give Menudo a try, since I know for a fact he loves it, and its one dish I know he misses. He has not had a good bowl of Menudo since my Grandmother passed away a few years ago, so it is my mission to make him a bowl just like she used to.