While living with her I definitely learned some great tips, but overall when it comes to doing things on my own I always worry about how they will be received. Will people like it? Does it taste right? As a result, when hosting, I tend to stick to dishes that are not Mexican. I am already an extranjera or foreigner, so people expect me to be a little different :). However, there are times when I have to make something for a group event, and more often it is a guisado. A guisado is a dish that is generally prepared in one pan with a number of different ingredients. There are probably hundreds of different types of guisados, and they generally are used as taco fillings. Basically, preparing a guisado is the Mexican version of a potluck dish, or perhaps a casserole! Here is a picture of a number of different guisados laid out for a taco bar:
I am definitely a fan of the Mexican potluck, maybe even more so than the American version. Still, when it comes to my own contributions I am always a little nervous about how they will be received. I have perfected one of my favorites, rajas con crema, or peppers in a cream sauce, but that is probably one of the most basic guisados (and delicious) that you can prepare. If I have a choice about what to bring, that's what I do. However, recently I was asked to make some kind of a chicken guisado, so I had to step out of my comfort zone. My friend Nydia had told me how to make a simple chicken guisado a while back, also with a cream sauce, so I decided to give it a try!
The sauce was a blended mixture of cream cheese, sour cream, broth, garlic, poblano peppers, and (according to my friend Nydia the secret ingredient of Mexican cooking) salt. After the sauce was made I shredded cooked chicken and with that I had a chicken guisado! It actually turned out pretty well.
As I reflected on the fact that I feel unconfident preparing Mexican food for Mexicans I began to see an advantage, I really have to rely on others in order to prepare it. It is a great opportunity for me to reach out to my Mexican friends and continue to put myself in a learning posture and in the process I am able to build relationships and have more practice in humility! This particular time the dish was a success, but it was also a fairly simple recipe. The truth is that in the future as I attempt more complicated dishes there is definitely room for failure! However, even when I "fail" I think it is important to not only look at the final product as what was accomplished, but the entire process and what I learn along the way. Overall, little by little I am letting go of my perfectionist self and learning to enjoy the journey, relying not just on myself but on others and most of all on God.