What’s in a name anyway? Everything.
Hilaria or Hillary? Josephine or Josefina? In the wake of Hilaria Baldwin’s name debacle—Is that Hillary with two “l’s” or Hilaria with one?—I thought it was only fitting I address my own name debacle. Josephine or Josefina? Jose or Josie? Many would be surprised to learn that Josefina is the name listed on my birth certificate. But this question is so much more than a name debacle. It really gets to the heart of the matter—the otherness many growing up bicultural or biracial feel—that we are fully neither, nor fully both. My own longing to fit in and belong for the better of my life inspired my latest culinary memoir, Sobremesa: A Memoir of Food and Love in Thirteen Courses. Like my bicultural heritage, sobremesa—time spent sitting at the table well after the food is gone—doesn’t have a direct English translation. Like me, it’s sin traducción. The attempts at translations—the literal: “over the table,” the subjective: “the post-meal equivalent of pillow talk,” the succinct: “table talk,” among others)—described it, barely. One might suggest this is because the topic is too narrow or foreign. I beg to differ, as sobremesa taps our commonalities: the need to eat, the desire to share, and most importantly, the longing to belong. Today, I want to share this part of my Argentine culture with my American friends and counterparts who I feel could benefit from taking ownership of a bit of my Argentine culture. There’s no better compliment than someone wanting to be a little Argentine. Some might say my take on Argentina is Americanized. That it’s not authentic, and try to expose my not so perfect Spanish. And that’s okay too, because my story is authentically me. Read on here.