Pumpkin Spice Latte - United States

Today I am allowing myself to be happy and celebrate. I know one election doesn’t erase the millions that still voted for open racism, homophobia, misogyny, negationism, individualism, and so on and so forth, and that 46th is not perfect at all. Of course, I know that. However, it undeniably offers a ray of hope, and I’m going to cling to it until at least late January. Thus, today, I celebrate by drinking a homemade pumpkin spice latte that has nothing to envy that Seattle multinational’s.

Go to recipe

I remember when I first landed in the United States. How young I was, in more senses than what age suggests. How scared, how insecure, how new to the world in its immensity. My flight arrived at that huge JFK airport and I was so overwhelmed with fear and excitement; I was just a small-town girl from southern Spain! I was 22 and it wasn’t my first time traveling alone outside my country, but the first time was only for about a month (although I will tell you about that another time, for it wasn’t a walk in the park either: I chose a refugee center for my very first solo adventure). But this time was different: I was staying there for 10 months. I wouldn’t see my family or my then-boyfriend for 5 months. I spoke the language, but not so fluently.

I remember how nice the people who picked me up were, but I was too shy and anxious to really engage in conversation. I remember arriving at my dorm to find I had no bedsheets. I had no idea I had to bring my own, that’s how clueless I was. I remember crying, thinking that I had gone way too far with that pretending to be bold and brave and independent charade. I remember laying out a towel on that plasticky mattress and crawling on it. I spent a white night reading a novel I had picked at Madrid’s airport, The
Shadow of the Wind
,
and finding comfort in the fact that it was set in Barcelona, even though I had never been to that city. I remember I was cold and it was august. I remember I was confused and lonely. And I remember how long it lasted.

Just that night.

Iris, on the bottom of the Statue of Liberty, walks with her arms extended towards the city, in a way that her brown jacket looks like her wings.

Because I remember Gonzalo Bruce, the Chilean head of international relations at my university, welcoming us, the international students, the very next morning. I remember how the university laid donuts and sandwiches and coffee and ice-cream all day long for us. I remember Asuka from Japan, and Anna from Finland, and Raashnie from Surinam, and Yucca from China, and Kate from Austria, and Giulia from Switzerland, and Azucena from Mexico, and Carol from Chile, and Phil from Germany, and Zoey from Taiwan, and Joanna, who was from Hispanic origin. I remember all the support from Dr. Esther Daganzo, the Spanish professor, and from my American friend Adam, who was dating a lovely Puerto Rican girl named Nicole at the time. I remember spending some weekends at my French cousin’s loft in Brooklyn. That was the United States of America that I knew: diverse, rich with cultures and languages and hope; a true delicious melting pot.

And I also remember my roommate Lauren, from New Jersey, who invited me to my first Thanksgiving ever. And Alyssa, Aimee, Karen, Maggie, Billy, Lauryn, Ashley, Joe, Meghan, Leah, Heather, Erin, Kristina, Thomas, Ian, Ashleigh, Kelly, Katherine, Tess, and many, many other Americans who treated me like I was family from the very beginning. That beautiful, inclusive, unmenacing experience is what I saw ripped off of many people, not only immigrants but also full-fledged born and raised Americans, during this mandate. And some of the above-mentioned people are Republicans, but none of them are bigots.

The Statue of Liberty, one grey morning of 2009

 

Ingredients

A small grater with pure nutmeg next to it, a spoon with allspice, another with vanilla extract, a piece of baked pumpkin, a piece of fresh ginger, some grounded cloves, grounded ginger and cinnamon in a three-compartment rectangular dish.

  • 1 teaspoon of grounded fresh nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon of grounded cloves
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of grounded ginger
  • 2 teaspoons of grounded cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of grounded allspice
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla essence
  • 1/2 cup of baked pumpkin
  • Coffee in the proportion of your addiction
  • Milk as you please
  • Sugar or sweetener to taste

An open Italian coffee maker next to a white mug in which we are pouring some milk

This is as simple as the fact that Human and Civil Rights are to be respected: mix all the spices well. I always prefer to have them fresh and ground them myself, but the pre-prepared ones will do. Then mash them with the pumpkin, the vanilla, and the sugar or sweetener until the mix is super smooth. Remember pumpkin is already sweet, so don’t overdo it with the sugar. Little by little, add some very hot milk to make it creamy. Lastly, add your freshly made coffee. I am European, so I like my coffee strong and, on top of that, I poured two shots. And that’s it!

A cup of creamy latte surrounded by some ground coffee beans, a small Italian coffe maker, and some cinamon sticks, cloves and nutmeg.

Take your first sip and you’ll relive the same autumnal warm and sweet feeling I had last night when I learned about the election results. Enjoy!

A Fork on the Road: Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

 

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