Woman’s fried treat is a big hit with friends

Paula Del Rio

Memories of childhood tugs at Paula Del Rio’s heart as she stands in the kitchen frying up plantains.

In 2005, Del Rio emigrated from Colombia to Dallas, Texas to start a better life, but moved to Macon, Georgia in 2012. This led her to being an advocate for immigration rights and helping her community. She said she speaks for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Being an immigrant from Colombia gives Del Rio a first-hand experience of immigration and how others deal with pressure. Continuing to be around other immigrants connects her to her own home, just like plantains.

Producing fried plantains may leave a mess in the kitchen, but the dish brings smiles to Del Rio’s friends and family.

Del Rio and her friends host dinner parties at each other’s homes. They frequently have a special request for her fried plantains.

“My friends like it when I cook plantains because it’s different,” Del Rio said.

A traditional Colombian meal pairs plantains with red beans, avocado, chorizo, rice, ground beef and eggs for one big dish. Del Rio included guacamole, cream cheese and queso along with her fried plantains during this preparation.

Photo by Bronlyn Holland

Fried plantains are a customary dish in the Del Rio household, instead of being reserved for special occasions or the holidays.

“I guess it’s just because we all make it. So something like … mac and cheese,” Del Rio said.

Del Rio taught her children, Geronimo and Lucy, how to make fried plantains and explained how they love this dish. She said as a child she was not a fan of sweet food, but plantains have a special place in her heart. Watching her mother and grandmother prepare plantains helped her appreciate and connect to her roots.

“It makes me feel like close to home,” she said.