The Perfect Shareable Dishes for a Summer Get-Together

a group of friends sharing food

Summer gatherings bring friends and family together for a joyful blend of sun-soaked relaxation, pleasant conversation, and, most importantly, an array of delicious foods. Nothing complements the summer spirit more than a table laden with vibrant dishes from around the world. In this spirit, here are six dishes from different Latin American cultures that you can make in large quantities and that are perfect for sharing at your next summer get-together.

Mexican Tacos Al Pastor

fries and vegetable salad on red and white ceramic platePhoto by Jarritos Mexican Soda on Unsplash

A crowd favorite, Tacos Al Pastor is a dish that's versatile, flavorful, and perfect for a communal setting. Thin strips of marinated pork are traditionally cooked on a vertical spit, then served on small tortillas with a blend of finely chopped onions, cilantro, and pineapple. For a backyard get-together, you can adapt this by grilling the pork. Set out a 'make-your-own-taco' station with all the toppings and let your guests have fun customizing their tacos. Get the recipe here.

Cuban Ropa Vieja

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Ropa Vieja, a classic Cuban dish, translates to 'old clothes' due to the shredded appearance of the meat, which mimics torn fabric. This hearty dish is a mixture of slow-cooked shredded beef stewed with bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. It's a dish that can easily be scaled to feed a crowd, and is perfect for serving alongside rice and black beans, allowing your guests to serve themselves. You can find the recipe here.

Colombian Sancocho

a bowl of sancochoPhoto by Keesha's Kitchen on Unsplash

Sancocho is a traditional Colombian stew that is hearty, robust, and perfect for large gatherings. It is typically made with a combination of meats, potatoes, plantains, corn, yucca, and is flavored with herbs and spices. Served with a side of white rice and avocado slices, Sancocho offers a complete meal in one bowl and is easily scalable for larger groups. Follow the recipe here.

Venezuelan Arepas

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Arepas are a staple of Venezuelan cuisine. These versatile cornmeal patties can be grilled, baked, or fried, and are typically split open and filled with a variety of fillings, from shredded beef and cheese to beans and avocados. For a summer gathering, you can set up an Arepa bar where guests can choose their fillings and make their own personalized Arepas, offering an interactive and delicious experience. Get the recipe here.

Salvadoran Pupusas

white ceramic plate with pupusas on brown wooden tablePhoto by Daniel Lloyd Blunk-Fernández on Unsplash

Pupusas are a Salvadoran specialty that your guests are sure to enjoy. These thick, stuffed corn tortillas are traditionally filled with a blend of cheese, cooked pork, and refried beans, although you can experiment with other fillings as well. Pupusas are typically served with a tangy cabbage slaw called curtido and a tomato-based salsa, making for a flavorful and satisfying bite perfect for a casual summer get-together. You can find the recipe here.

Puerto Rican Arroz con Gandules

Archivo:Arroz con gandules.jpg - Wikipedia, la enciclopedia

Arroz con Gandules is a flavorful Puerto Rican dish perfect for any large gathering. This savory rice dish is cooked with pigeon peas, olives, capers, tomato sauce, and a mix of spices, with optional additions like pork or chicken. It's a one-pot dish that's easy to serve and is hearty enough to be a stand-alone meal, making it perfect for a summer get-together. Follow the recipe here.

Each of these dishes brings a unique flavor profile and cultural tradition to your summer gathering, creating a vibrant, diverse, and delicious spread for your guests to enjoy. From the tangy, sweet, and savory notes of Tacos Al Pastor to the hearty, robust flavors of Sancocho, there's something to suit everyone's palate!

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Picture this: the grand arena hums with the electricity of expectation and the clamor of a thousand voices, all waiting for the spectacle of the age-old Mexican tradition of Lucha Libre, a wrestling style born in the heart of Mexico in the early 20th century.

The combatants aren’t mere wrestlers; they are luchadores, artists of acrobatics and theatricality, their faces hidden behind vibrant masks that carry stories older than the very sport they represent, stories rooted in the legacy of the ancient Aztecs.

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Women in Texas at the National Women's March, rallying against deadly abortion restrictions.
Lucy Flores

The landscape of abortion rights in the United States has become more restrictive than ever in recent history, particularly in Arizona and Florida, where recent developments represent a major setback for women’s reproductive rights. On April 9, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled in a 4-to-2 decision to uphold an 1864 law banning abortion from the moment of conception. The only exception is saving the mother’s life, but there are no exceptions for rape or incest under this law.

Just a few days earlier, on April 1, the Florida Supreme Court also ruled in favor of upholding a 6-week abortion ban, which will take effect on May 1. This further reduced the legal threshold for abortions in Florida, which used to be 24 weeks of pregnancy before Republicans passed a law in 2022 banning abortions after 15 weeks. Both of these rulings have sparked intense debate and outrage about their impact on women’s rights.

Overview of the Near-Total Abortion Ban in Arizona

The Arizona Supreme Court voted to uphold an 1864 law, a law passed even before the state officially was a part of the United States of America, that makes all types of abortion illegal, including medication abortion, from the moment of conception. Though there are exceptions in cases where the mother’s life is at risk, the ban makes no exceptions for cases of rape or incest and imposes severe penalties, including imprisonment, on medical professionals performing abortions.

Medical professionals have spoken out about how dire the situation will become for women with this near-total abortion ban. Dr. Jill Gibson, chief medical director of Planned Parenthood in Arizona, told CNN that this ruling will have “absolutely unbelievable consequences for the patients in our community.” She continued by saying, “Providers need to be able to take care of their patients without fear of legal repercussions and criminalization.”

Representatives from Arizona and other states across the country have also spoken up against this near-total abortion ban.

Video by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramVideo by Shontel Brown Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Image by Rub\u00e9n Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on InstagramImage by Rubén Gallego Member of the United States House of Representatives on Instagram

Until this Arizona Supreme Court decision, abortion had been legal in the state up to 15 weeks of pregnancy. The right to abortion via Roe v. Wade prevented the enforcement of the near-total abortion ban, but since a majority vote in the Supreme Court of the United States overturned Roe, those opposed to abortion rights had been fighting to enforce the 160-year-old 1864 law.

This new abortion ban in Arizona is not effective immediately as the court has paused its ruling for 14 days until additional arguments are heard in a lower court about how constitutional the law is. However, the law will likely come into effect in May, a few weeks from now. Planned Parenthood Arizona, the largest abortion provider in the state, will continue serving the community until the ban is enforced.

An Overview of Florida's Six-Week Abortion Ban

The landscape of abortion in Florida has also undergone a significant change with the enforcement of a 6-week abortion ban, replacing the previous 15-week limit. This ban, similar to Arizona's, severely restricts access to abortion care and poses a significant challenge to reproductive rights in the state. Providers are bracing for a public health crisis due to the increased demand for abortion and limited options for patients.

Practically speaking, a 6-week abortion ban is a near-total abortion ban because pregnant people often don’t even realize they could be pregnant by this early stage. Combined with Florida’s strict abortion requirements, which include mandatory in-person doctor visits with a 24-hour waiting period, it’s nearly impossible for those who may want an abortion to be able to access it before 6 weeks. Not to mention that fulfilling the requirements is particularly challenging for low-income individuals.

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Moreover, this Florida law also restricts telemedicine for abortion and requires that medication be provided in person, effectively eliminating mail-order options for abortion pills. While exceptions for rape and incest exist in Florida, the requirements are also strict, asking victims to provide police records or medical records. For victims who don’t always report sexual violence for many different reasons, these exceptions don’t make a difference.

The consequences of Florida’s ban extend to neighboring states with more restrictive abortion laws. For instance, residents of Alabama, facing a total ban on abortion, and Georgia, with its own 6-week abortion ban, have relied on Florida for abortion services. That will no longer be an option, further limiting care alternatives.

The Road Ahead

These recent abortion bans in Arizona and Florida are a major setback for women's rights, particularly impacting Latina women who already face barriers to accessing quality healthcare. These bans not only restrict women’s reproductive freedom but also endanger their lives.

Efforts to challenge these bans through legal means and ballot measures are ongoing, but the road ahead is uncertain. While there’s hope for overturning these abortion bans, the challenges of conservative laws and legal battles are formidable. The November ballot in both states will be crucial in determining the future of abortion rights and access for all.

graphic design highlighting Dolores Huerta 94 birthday, the iconic civil rights activist and labor leader.

Today, Dolores Huerta, one of the most important Latino icons within civil rights, is turning 94 years old. This occasion is the perfect opportunity to celebrate not only her robust life but also her immense contributions as a social justice champion. Huerta is a living legend whose tireless efforts have helped transform the landscape of civil rights, feminism, labor rights, farmworkers’ rights, and even environmental justice.

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