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Why We Gather Together for Morisqueta

When our mom says she is making morisqueta, everyone shows up. Whether she’s cooking at Los Tarascos, La Buena Vida, or her house, the entire family comes ready to devour it. Inevitably, at least one person shows up late and is disappointed that we’ve already licked the bowls clean. It’s so delicious that I even invite friends when my mom’s cooking this dish. It’s an Apatzingan soul food that I truly think everyone needs to try at least once! Morisqueta is a reason to come together.

This is why, during our most recent monthly family meeting, we decided on morisqueta as April’s special of the month. Morisqueta is a white rice dish topped with tomato-based sauce with meat, and any various toppings you may want to add - usually beans and cheese. It is a peasant/street dish originating from our hometown of Apatzingan in southern Mexico; and the ingredients and process we use is unique compared to how other cities and villages in the surrounding areas might make it. We use more tomatillos in relation to the tomato ratio than some other families might, and our sauce is a little thicker – so it is extra hearty and delicious.

Morisqueta reminds me of when we were little and still living in Mexico. My dad’s grandma, Mama Chabelita, often served it to us before she passed away. My maternal grandma, Mama Juanita, also made her own version when we visited her farm. She would cook it with fresh chorizo that she had made with ingredients directly from her land. The meat and tomatoes made it so hearty, and the tomatillo added the perfect balance of tanginess.

After we emigrated here from Mexico, I didn’t really get to enjoy morisqueta anymore for a while. Maybe my parents forgot how much we love the dish? However, things changed when my Mama Juanita moved to the states four years later. She whipped up some of her farm-fresh chorizo and made us morisqueta again! It brought back so many good memories as I bit into each spoonful of rice, sauce, beans, cheese, and sour cream (that’s how I like mine). I am pretty sure it evoked happy, nostalgic feelings of Mama Chabelita for my dad too as he ate his bowl, because from that day forward we ate morisqueta at least once a month. There was even one point where we had it every single Sunday.

Morisqueta represents our Mexican heritage along with unity in our family. This is why it is such a meaningful dish for us. All of us are constantly busy running around and tending to the restaurants, but when my mom tells us there is morisqueta, we always come together and enjoy each other’s company. We hope that you will enjoy our tradition with your family and try our homemade morisqueta at Los Tarascos.

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