*Guest post by chicago foodie girl contributor, Diana
Those are my mother's exact words whenever she or any of us are invited over to someone's home, and she says this to us for a couple of reasons. First, she's very generous and selfless (ok, REALLY selfless), but the other reason (which makes me laugh every time she brings it up) is that she always wants to leave the host with a good impression of her, because she often worries that she will leave after the party and the host may say, "She didn't bring anything. That's the last time I ever invite that dirty Puerto Rican over."
Oh, Momma. She's a little delusional about certain things, but she means well. If you know her, you understand this perfectly.
Based on her repetition of that phrase over the years, not going into anyone's home empty handed has found a permanent place in my brain. Depending on the event I'll bring a bottle of wine, loaf of bread, coffee, a dish to pass or a fancy dessert. I usually opt for the latter because everyone loves dessert and I can leave the lasting impression of, "Wow, that dirty Puerto Rican's daughter knows how to buy dessert!"
I'M KIDDING. Honestly, that dirty Puerto Rican thing never gets old at my house. Haha!
Oh and if you have pets, I'll probably bring them a treat, but don't count on me bringing your pet boa constrictor a box of live mice, crickets or whatever they eat. Ick.
As I mentioned, dessert is usually my go to item, and I try to make it as fun and interesting as possible. Variety is key, especially if you don't know your crowd. Not everyone loves chocolate the way I do. Ha ha!
Whole Foods has helped me out in a big way, as they now carry an assortment of mini cupcakes and mini versions of their larger desserts (fruit tarts, key lime tarts, chocolate raspberry tarts) that are always a hit. Although being my mother's daughter, I have a tendency to over buy and the next thing you know I have two dozen mini desserts to bring to a dinner for four. Oops! But hey, more for me!
And if I'm feeling adventurous, I'll even bake for you! I make a mean oatmeal cookie, where I substitute the raisins for dried cherries. Everyone loves 'em and really, it's just the recipe from the Quaker Oats box, and they come out great every single time!
But cooking sometimes stresses me out, so Whole Foods, I thank you for your bakery. You're a home run every single time!
And honestly, my mom means well and I know it. She's such an interesting and fun person, and she puts so much (maybe too much) love into everything she does, especially when it comes to cooking and feeding people. It's never a dull moment when you're around her.
She's in NYC visiting relatives for the next couple of weeks and I'm missing her, which I guess is why I'm writing this post about her. She's the greatest. Here we are in Door County, Wisconsin, 2009. This is one of my favorite pictures of us. :)
The Dirty Puerto Rican's Daughter (hee hee!)