When a young girl goes to the market with her abuela to buy plátanos – plantains – her grandmother says, “Plátanos are love.” The girl reflects, “I thought they were food. But abuela says they feed us in more ways than one.” Abuela goes on to explain that their ancestors plucked the plátanos from high up in the trees using long poles.
When they return from the market with the plátanos, they begin to make mangú for breakfast. Abuela explains that she has been eating plátanos since she was a child, as had her ancestors. The girl learns the surprising fact that her ancestors had to pass down in secret the recipes for ways to prepare plátanos because they were not allowed to read, write, or draw. So abuela had committed each recipe to memory. Now she passes on her knowledge to her granddaughter, who writes and draws what she has learned in a booklet titled “Nuestra Familia’s Cookbook” – "Our Family Cookbook.”
As Abuela, the girl, and her younger sister celebrate their record of the recipes, the girl thinks, “Abuela says plátanos are our past. I say plátanos are our present. And with this book, plátanos will always be our future. Because in our familia, plátanos are love.”
Author Alyssa Reynoso-Morris’s celebrative narrative about food, family, and culture is enhanced by illustrator Mariyah Rahman’s joyful, vivid artwork. This bilingual children’s picture book includes a detailed glossary and several plátanos recipes. (Atheneum Books for Young Readers)