By: Taylor Hines
The city of El Paso and the borderland region have a palpable magnetism that can be expressed in a variety of ways. Our people are strong; the desert hardens us and demands us to fight for what we need, hardening us and demanding more. Desert people are unique in another way, we are also welcoming and kind. “Mi casa es su casa” is the mantra that lives in each and every one of us; we share bread, laughs, drinks and live boldly.
Aarón Sánchez, a son of El Paso, a son of immigrants and a feeder of people channels what it means to be from this region and pours his story to fill our cups in his memoir, “Where I Come From: Lessons from a Latino Chef,” on shelves today. Sánchez opens readers’ eyes and hearts with the retelling of his childhood in El Paso, New York and places in between, peppered with anecdotes anyone can relate to but ones that El Pasoans especially will find a familiarity and comfort in.
The text sinks its teeth into the reader as the pages turn, the word-crafting of Sánchez has something for everyone and will become a favorite of all who open their mind to it. “Where I Come From” represents a slice of art that far too often does not receive the credit it truly deserves, mirroring Latin cuisine’s delineation in the lexicon of higher dining where minds tend to look at French, Italian and New American methods. Sánchez’s ability to tell his story shines a much-needed light on not only his remarkable journey to where he is today (one of food media’s most recognizable icons), but also what it means to be an El Pasoan and Latinx doing badass work.
Our roots will always be a part of us, no matter how far away we travel, how much our identity shifts or how much we grow; home is home. Being from El Paso sets people apart, we bring the essence of the desert into everything we do, and we are better for it. Sánchez is truly an ambassador of our city and this latest work is a need-to-read for anyone who calls the 915 home. Filled with tales of teenage love, struggles, and those “ah-ha” moments where we find our place and calling in this crazy world, “Where I Come From” is an El Paso story as much as it is Sánchez’s memoir—call into work for the day, settle into your favorite reading chair/couch/corner, and let it feed you.