Let’s have a drink

Revealing the true origins of an iconic beverage

Ingredients:

-1 1⁄2 cups of rice
-2 sticks of cinnamon
-1 12 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
-1 12 oz can of evaporated milk and 4 cups of water

Directions:

Thoroughly rinse rice until water runs mostly clear. Set washed rice aside.

Boil 4 cups of water, and once boiling remove from the stove.

Add washed rice into the hot water, along with the cinnamon sticks, and
let soak until it softens; but is not fully cooked. It should take about 30
minutes.

Once rice is softened, strain rice and cinnamon and add mixture to a blender. Blend until smooth. Strain and add mixture to a large pitcher.

To the pitcher add the can of evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk.

Fill the rest of the pitcher with water and sweeten to liking.

Serve chilled or in a glass with ice. Tacos are a great addition, but not
necessary.

Ingredients used to make horchata. Photo by Celeste Alvarez

Horchata is a drink we often take for granted and merely assume its origins ascend from Latinx culture, however, there’s more than meets the eye.

Horchata originated from West Africa, where the creamy drink was made from small tubers called Tiger nuts (Chufas) known as, “kunnu aya”. From West Africa, it traveled to Iberia, now known as Spain; as a result of the Muslim Conquest. After arriving to Valencia, it was then introduced to the new world and evolved into what we now know as horchata.

Horchata de chufa is still popular, especially in Spain, where it is consumed heavily in the spring and summertime months. However, in Mexico, it has transformed to be a creamy milk drink heavily flavored with rice and cinnamon.

Horchata has become a staple in Latinx culture, and I can easily say it’s one of my favorite drinks.

Although my mom doesn’t make it all the time, whenever she does, it’s treated as a big event in my household. The older I get the more my longing to be connected to my culture strengthens, and food is a way I can do this.

Making my mother’s recipes help me feel connected to my family and heritage, even when I’m 500+ miles away. This creamy drink completes more than just a delicious meal, it represents celebration and unification within families.  

Food is a significant part of everyone’s life. It’s important to acknowledge its roots and see how we’re more connected than we think we are.

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