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Looking for ways to spice up your Thanksgiving menu? Then take a page from a cookbook filled with recipes that are as distinctly Latin as they are American

By Sofia Perez

[Published by Latina, November 2004]

Latina-layout-thumbnailAfter Nohemí Baéz Humphrey moved from Madrid to the tiny town of Kensington, Ohio, nearly 25 years ago, she found herself missing a lot more than the language, city life, and eight brothers and sisters she had left behind. “I couldn’t find any of the food I was used to cooking with back home—not even garbanzo beans,” she says.

So Nohemí, 53, did what immigrants have been doing since the beginning of time: She adapted. Joining forces with three other mujeres who had settled in the area—Ana María Hutson, from Peru; Lilly Naughton-Cyphert, from Argentina; and Nora Brennan, from Colombia—Nohemí began modifying traditional dishes with whatever local ingredients she could find. Today, 200 of those recipes can be found in ¡Sabroso!: The Spanish American Family Cookbook, written by Nohemí’s eldest daughter, Noemi Cristina Taylor. “Whenever there was a family fiesta,” Noemi Cristina, 30, says, “my mother and her friends would arrive with a dish that was native to their home countries”—but it contained only ingredients that could be found locally.

The result is a cookbook filled with dishes that add a bit of American kick to the authentic taste of home, which makes them ideally suited to a Thanksgiving feast. Here are two that work as complements to the holiday meal’s traditional staples.

[Recipes: Swiss Chard in Cream/Acelgas en Crema (Argentina); Raisin-and-Almond Rice/Arroz con Almendras y Pasas de Uvas (Peru)]