This story about cultivating cultural connection is part of a campaign compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. However, all opinions, memories and the recipe are mine alone. #NestleEnMiLista #NestleKitchen #CollectiveBias
As a mom raising children in a country other than my own, I’m always cultivating cultural connection to my Dominican heritage and one great and delicious way to do that is through food. Some of the fondest memories of my childhood happened while in the kitchen cooking with my grandmother and I want to share what I learned with my children, creating new memories that not only reminds them of me, but that nurtures a love and respect for our culture and traditions.
Cultivating cultural connection with our Latino heritage might seem difficult at times because our kids are surrounded with the dominating culture and some connections are lost in translation. Making sure my children speak Spanish allows them to connect more with their Dominican heritage through music, stories, interacting with family members back home, and it also makes it easier for me to teach them recipes and/or share those dishes with them accompanied by a story of how things were when I was growing up and where some dishes come from.
As beautiful as this mission of cultivating cultural connection to my Dominican heritage is, the reality of a busy mom’s life is that there is not a lot of time during the week to allow cooking with the kids. That, of course, doesn’t stop me from making those dishes and sharing the stories with them every chance I get. Now that they are back to school, I choose practical, quick and easy recipes that are tied to my upbringing and that I can serve for breakfast before they go to school.One of my allies in the kitchen is Nestlé Nesquik® because my kids love its delicious flavor and I love it has 7 essential vitamins and minerals and contains no artificial colors, flavors, or sweeteners. I use it to serve an easy ‘pan con chocolate’, serving them toasted bread with hot chocolate or adding it to their favorite hot cereal, like oatmeal or a very Dominican, affordable and delicious ‘Marifinga’. Funny name, I know!
Since there might be a similar version of this dish elsewhere in Latin America, I want to share with you what marifinga is and what are its origins in the Dominican Republic.
Cultivating Cultural Connection: What’s Marifinga?
Dominican Marifinga is a dish made with flour, milk, sugar, salt and spices that is meant to be satisfying without breaking the bank, it’s what many would call ‘a poor man’s meal’ because of how cheap are the ingredients. This meal alternative comes from the poorest areas in the Dominican Republic, where people have to use ingenuity to feed their families with little to none resources. Because I grew up poor and believe that our ingenuity is at the core of those struggles, serving my kids marifinga is one of the way in which I continue cultivating cultural connection to our family’s Dominican origin.
While some recipes we do cannot be replicated exactly because some ingredients are not available to us here, with marifinga I get to use Nestlé products that have been a part of my family’s table for generations. I remember going to the supermarket and purchasing several of their products, and especially the cocoa powder that had a different presentation that today, but still from a brand my grandmother trusted as much as I do. Marifinga can also be made with cornstarch and it provides a softer texture and it’s the way I usually make it here at home. My kids love it!
Sharing Dominican culture with my kids it’s a pleasure for me, it makes me feel personally closer to home and it prompts sweet memories, pun intended! With this recipe, my way of cultivating cultural connection was simple and ingenious, if I may say so myself! Because we want our kids to get ready for school in a timely manner, I told them whoever finished first will get to eat “el concón de la marifinga”, which is basically whatever sticks to the pot making a crust and it’s everybody’s favorite (even mami and me fight over who gets to eat it. :P.
Then I’d go on and tell them all about how I used to be the one getting the pot most of the time, as Mamá Amparo had a soft spot for me being that I was so skinny and she wanted me to gain weight, and I tell them about the wonderful smell of the spices as the milk warmth, and of the not-so good surprise of taking a spoonful and realizing you got the lime peel she added to the mix for flavor. I marvel at seeing my kiddos laugh and enjoy an easy, nutritious breakfast before their school day starts.
As for where to get the ingredients to make this recipe? That’s easy! Walmart carries my favorite Nestlé products and the spices and other ingredients needed for this dish. Of course, the Nesquik wasn’t the only thing I purchased. It is impossible to go to Walmart and only get one item as there are always things we need at home, being a big family.
I bought fruits, some cafecito to be prepared when we need to make one quick, so of course I took NESCAFÉ® Taster’s Choice® House Blend Instant Coffee that is made with responsibly sourced beans, and our favorite NESCAFÉ® Clasico™ Dark Roast Instant Coffee, 100% pure coffee to enjoy in the morning with my mom after the kids go to school We usually have a little tertulia over coffee before I start my work day.
Since PapiCool loves creamer, I got him Coffee-Mate Natural Bliss Liquid Coffee Creamer in hazelnut flavor to give his morning coffee a kick. As you seen in pictures, my children are growing fast and grocery shopping is always with them in mind. So, besides the fruits and veggies, I bought the NIDO Fortified for kids 3 years and older to support their growth and development.
Dominican Marifinga Recipe
5 cups of milk (you can make it with regular, soy, almond or cashew milk)
⅓ cup of cornstarch
¾ cup of Nestlé Nesquik Chocolate (you can adjust this to your taste)
1 big cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon of cloves
Pinch of salt
Sugar to taste
Pour 4 cups of milk on a pot and turn the stove to medium heat.
Add the cinnamon stick, the lime peel and the cloves.
In a separate cup, dilute the cornstarch in 1 cup of cold milk until completely dissolved.
Add the Nestlé Nesquik Chocolate to the milk on the stove, stirring until dissolved.
Add the dissolved cornstarch, stirring constantly.
Add sugar to taste, and a pinch of salt.
Continue to stir until the mixture gets the desired consistency.
Serve and eat while is still warm. You can eat by itself, with bread or even add fruits to it.
I hope you make this one for your kiddos one of these days and take advantage of how easy it is to make, and how much your children will love it. Also, I suggest you go check out the Nestlé’s Back to School Product Shelf on Walmart.com by clicking here to make sure you have everything you need in your pantry and fridge to get your kids ready for school every morning.
I’d love to hear your own stories of eating marifinga back in DR, or if you are from another country and you know this dish by another name/ variation I’d love to hear from you, too!Let's embrace diversity and create social change! © Dania Santana ~ Embracing Diversity
Multiculturalism, Diversity & Inclusion Expert | Author | Speaker