Cuisine is a conversation. Foodways are not static and nothing traditional is the age people think it is. For a culinary tradition as circumstantial and inventive as Puerto Rican food, this is especially true, as new low-cost ingredients get incorporated into old patterns. That’s where this entry in our journey appears: pasta in tomato sauce, but make it Puerto Rican.
I’m not used to the idea of “favorites.” I definitely have favorites, but I don’t naturally catalogue things that way. As a child, I had to memorize lists of my own favorites for the omnipresent class exercises involving children informing the class of theirs, and only began to find the process natural once I started comparing things in detail, sometimes with written pro and con lists, to suss out the fine gradations of my own enjoyment. Most of the time, I am too aware of things other people put in the same bins as different from one another to try to quantify them with the same measuring stick, but associative games are another talent I have, and I learned to play them with the best.
So, I set myself a challenge, with a joking Facebook meme inviting people to ask for my Top Fives in categories of their choosing. My friends, being my friends, offered up a downright bizarre selection for me, with which I now do what I do best: give needlessly well-thought-out answers.