Autumn is just around the corner, literally. Tomorrow marks the Autumnal Equinox, also known as the beginning of Fall in the northern hemisphere and Spring in the southern hemisphere. This magical time of year comes with a telltale feeling; the air is brisker, moons are brighter, and days are beginning to shorten. In Seattle, the change is palpable. I witness it every morning during my daily walks with Sami, our Samoyed pup, as we walk down the streets decorated with brick buildings that once were home to Seattle's original downtown. I watch in awe as the wind picks up the brown and golden piles that have begun to accumulate at the base of each tree. Mother-Earth lifts the leaves and gently places them back down in a different place with each breath of air. In perfect harmony, she repeats this dance, over and over until the leaves find a sweet spot to rest, under a car or the corner of a building, where they will wait with their backs pressed against the wall until it's their time to dance again.
Curiously enough, the full moon that takes place around the Autumnal Equinox is named the Harvest Moon. This moon got its name because as the moon begins to rise around sunset for several nights in a row during this time of year, it allows farmers additional extra light for them to wrap up their summer harvests before the killing frosts set in.
While I am not a farmer myself-- yet (I have big hopes of owning enough land someday to grow my food), I, too, am harvesting what this year has brought so far. As I reflect on what a fantastic month September has been, I am reminded that the reason for all of these accomplishments can be attributed to the intentions that were first set when I started Mamacita.
In a world where we have been conditioned to focus on the output, we have become addicted to expectations, and enamored with results. So much that we often miss the value of the input and the intention behind what we are doing. Throughout the process of writing Mamacita and with the incredible help of my right-hand and Editor Erin Motley, any decision we made for the book was based on the intention of making Mamacita as good of a cookbook as we could potentially make it. I called in a community of creators, photographers, and designers who could help me make Mamacita visually beautiful; I tested every recipe to make sure it was approachable for all levels of cooking experience, and spent days playing with the dishes to find the most delicious way of presenting them on a plate. At the same time, Erin and I worked together to make sure the writing portions of the book were relatable and accurately told my family's story.
During the process, many questions about what I wanted to do with the cookbook came up. Whether I wanted to find a publisher, or have it sold in certain stores, or if I was planning on writing more cookbooks. Instead of looking towards the end of the road, I poured my heart into giving Mamacita a soul. Every day, I thought about all the people who this book could potentially inspire. In mind were thousands of immigrant children like myself with big dreams and wild goals; I wanted to confirm that what they have to say matters and that they too are valuable. In mind I had people who had never heard about the immigration process being told straight from the mouth of someone who has walked that path. I dreamed of the change this book could make for my community, how it could bring us closer, how this book might impact how people see the Mexican culture, and how much it has to offer.
After the cookbook launched, I began to focus on the best ways to share it with the world, what collaborations I could do and what outlets were available to represent Mamacita best. And then, Summer melted into Fall, and I began to witness how all the energy that went into the intention of Mamacita has started to ripen. This September has been a month that I will never forget. The month started with us taking a seat at Kinfood's family table, allowing us to collaborate in a way where we were able to partner with local Mexican and Hispanic farmers to curate a CSA box dedicated to Hispanic Heritage Month. I had the opportunity to sit down with Meghna from the Book Larder, a local and mighty community cookbook store, and had an Author Talk which had 100 registered participants from all over the globe, where I was able to share more intimate stories about my immigration and the importance of welcoming migrants into our country. We launched our new Mamacita totes thanks to the BIPOC and WOC owned print shop Midnight Supply Company, and officially were able to get Mamacita inside the shelves of Book Larder and Seattle's Public Library, where children and people who can't afford the cookbook, can still have a chance to learn and experience my life story and hopefully find the inspiration to go after their dreams.
It's hard to believe how much has come out of one single intention. As Fall settles in, I will continue to spill my jar of energy into Mamacita while I too dance with the leaves and celebrate all the good that has come.
Until next time, cook a meal for someone you love.