Claudia Suarez with Austin Spanish Academy chatted with Studio 512 about the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month, which starts on September 15th, and how to celebrate.
Claudia says, “I have a master’s degree in teaching Spanish as a foreign language from the University of Barcelona. I love teaching Spanish and being able to transmit something of the Mexican people to my students. We came to the United States 16 years ago. My whole family lives in Mexico and so does my husband’s. So we go at least twice a year to hang out with cousins, uncles, grandparents, and childhood friends.”
Can you tell us what the purpose of this month is?
“The purpose of this month is to celebrate the historical and cultural contributions that Hispanics living in the United States have made to this country. This includes countries in the Caribbean, Central and South America, as well as Spain and Mexico. As you know, Hispanics are very welcoming, we love receiving people at home and being accompanied, we are lovers of a good plate of food, music, family and friends. In our case, as Mexicans living in the United States, we love that our children’s American friends know that in the Suarez house there is always food, and bed ready to receive them. We love transmitting that Mexican part that makes them feel welcomed and that contributes to American teens learning from other cultures. As Hispanics we are also grateful and we recognize the great opportunities that this country has offered us so the way we can give thanks is by sharing the good things of our culture and that human warmth that characterizes us.”
How can we celebrate Hispanic heritage this month?
“Celebrate this month by supporting Hispanic businesses, eating in typical restaurants, cooking traditional dishes, donating to institutions or churches that help the poorest countries in Latin America or simply playing Lotería or sharing your time with a Hispanic person.”
Can you share a traditional recipe that you love with us?
“Every Hispanic mom has some version of this recipe. It’s meatballs, but in a broth: caldo is the Spanish word for broth. We also call these meatballs albóndigas.”
Chipotle Caldillo Meatballs
For the meatballs:
400 g of ground beef
• 1/4 C onion, finely chopped
• 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/4 C of bread crumbs
• 3 tbsp oil
For the caldillo:
• 3 slices tomato
• 60 g onion
• 1 garlic clove
• 2 tbsp of marinated chipotle chili pepper
• 1 C chicken broth
• 1 tsp of salt
In a bowl, mix the meat with the onion, the cilantro, the egg, the salt and the bread crumbs. Shape the meatballs. In a skillet over medium heat, heat the oil and seal the meatballs. Set the meatballs aside and keep the juices in the pan. For the caldillo, blend all the ingredients except the salt. Fry the caldillo in the same pan as the meatballs, pour the meatballs in slowly and cook over low heat and covered for 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked. Season with salt.
Are there any local Hispanic-owned businesses that you love for an idea of who to support this month?
“I love El Naranjo and OneTaco! El Naranjo has delicious, authentic food, and OneTaco is…tacos. You can’t go wrong. Their salsas especially are very authentic, and they taste great when I’m craving a taste of home. Mint Event Design is run by a party planner, Carolina Villareal: as Mexicans, we love to party! She’ll make sure everything looks amazing.”
Can you tell us more about Austin Spanish Academy?
“Austin Spanish Academy offers Spanish classes for all ages. Using our proven Spanish Immersion Program, our classes create an environment where students learn Spanish in a natural way, through meaningful associations and interactions that empower them to use the Spanish language to communicate and express their thoughts. Miss Ana has gathered a great team with native Spanish speakers.”
Austin Spanish Academy has classes online for kids and adults, individuals and groups. Learn more about getting started today at AustinSpanishAcademy.co. Learn more about Hispanic Heritage Month at the official website, HispanicHeritageMonth.gov.