For California native, Nancy Cornel the biggest thing that helps her feel at home is the ability to cook the spicy Mexican food that she grew up on.
It was a sticky summer day in sunny Santa Ana when an eight year old Nancy Coronel started cooking. She was called in from playing with her hordes of cousins to help her abuela in the kitchen. Nancy remembers how special she felt that’s she was chosen to help her abuela make the enchiladas for that night’s dinner. This was day one of hundreds of other days spent in the kitchen learning how to cook from her abuela. Cooking would be something that would quickly become a big part of who Nancy is.
Nancy’s life in California was full of rich Mexican culture, something very different than Morningside’s campus. When Nancy arrived in Iowa she experienced a massive culture shock, “I was not surrounded around Spanish speaking families, or anything Hispanic like it was back home,” said Nancy.
There was a period of adjustment for her coming from a Spanish speaking home to a very white Midwestern college. But there is one thing that will always make Nancy feel at home; cooking.
One thing that Nancy really doesn’t let on is how homesick she gets. She expresses the difficulty being away from her family during the holidays. The times that Nancy is most fond of is the holiday season, especially Thanksgiving. “I love Thanksgiving because that’s the only holiday that everyone gets together, and cooks together and is able to share recipes,” said Cornel. For Nancy food is what brings her whole family together, so it’s a no brainer as to why she loves cooking.
Her grandmother taught her how to cook when she was very young, so whenever she does feel homesick she cooks. The flavors of the spicy Mexican food that she grew up on, like Chile Rellenos, Tacos al Pastor, and Tosadas brings her right back to her home in Orange County. Although it is really easy for her to get home sick here “The one thing that reminds me of home is the family vibe of Morningside,” said Nancy.