At the age of 14, Monica Brown moved from Colombia in South America to Columbia, Md. She was familiar with the country because of past travels and looked forward to the move. “Since I came here for the first time, I said that I want to live in the United States,” said Monica. However, once her family migrated, she missed the friends, school and language that they had left behind.
Monica making Tamales with her mom, aunt and cousin in 2006, at the age of 16. “Wrapping was the hardest part,” said Monica
Food provided comfort and familiarity for the family in the new country. The simplest of foods like “Arepas” sparked big joy. “My mom makes them every morning, and if my mom doesn’t make them, they are not as good,” said Monica, while talking about Arepas, which are her favorite South American food. Check out Monica’s video for a complete description of these Colombian style stuffed cornmeal pancakes.
Monica loves to cook for family and with family. Her Instagram account, a_dash_of_taste features foods that she buys, cooks and eats. She is also an “Elite Yelper.” She is a big fan of fusion foods, and often experiments in the kitchen with different ingredients. As a mother of three children under the age of 3, she has limited time at hands for cooking daily, but whenever she gets a chance, she loves to cook or go out to a restaurant and post about it on Instagram. For busier days, her freezer is always stocked with frozen Arepas from the local Hispanic store.
Monica and her husband at a cooking class in Sayulita, Mexico, March 2022
Written and produced by Saima Adil Sitwat.
Funding for Food at Home is provided by Maryland State Arts Council.