Growing up in a low-income Latino household, Earth Day wasn’t something that was discussed. In fact, Earth Day started in 1970. But, in my 80’s home, my parents were more concerned about making sure that we had clothes to wear and enough to eat.
However, my parents (my mom especially) unknowingly passed on some great traditions that I now pass on to my own kiddo. Here’s our list of earth-friendly traditions. See if yours makes the list and add your own in the comments!
1. Hand-me-downs – My mom was the queen of hand-me-downs. As a middle child, she frequently received clothing from her older sisters. She was very annoyed at the time she said, but understood after having us. I remember a received a hand-me-down uniform for freshman year of high school. Today, I pass on this tradition by having kiddo help me sort clothes, books and toys to pass on to others in need.
2. Making the best of leftovers. My mom believed in not wasting anything, so she tended to cook extra food to last for the next meal. How did I know that I caught this bug, I realized a year ago that I was wasting food because I couldn’t cook for less than four people. Go figure! lol
3. Making items from scratch. My mom also showed me that making things at home was cheaper and tastier than buying it at the supermarket. She used to make sofrito the seasoning mix that is the base of many Puerto Rican recipes. Rather than buy it at the store, which was more expensive, Mom gathered all the ingredients and blended them in the food processor. She then froze it and thawed it out as needed. For months, Mom had ready-made sofrito to season all of her yummy meals. While I’m not much of a sofrito user, I have learned to make my own spaghetti sauce from simple ingredients. (Please note – the above recipe was the closest to my mom’s.)
4.Brewing coffee. Mom loved her Bustelo coffee (it’s my favorite coffee, too). We didn’t have a coffee maker growing up. So no filters to waste. She brewed her coffee by boiling it and then using a cloth strainer to separate the coffee grounds from the liquid. I’ve continued this tradition by brewing my own coffee. Not only to be earth-friendly, but also to keep her with me.
I’m sure if I think hard enough, I could add to this list. But, these four tricks are the ones I use the most. And these are the ones that keep her memory alive and help me miss her a little less. What are some earth-friendly traditions you’ve adopted in your household?
Happy Earth Day!
Traditions courtesy of Francisca Reyes (1942 – 2002).
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