My mother was very traditional when it came to the meals she cooked at home, so she never sent me to school with sandwiches for lunch. Whatever was for dinner the previous night became tomorrow’s lunch for us kids. The day I broke the seal on my Tupperware container, and the aromatic smell of cod fish, onions, and tomatoes wafted through the air, I became the talk of the lunchroom. Not good talk, either.

They labeled me a “jibara” (a hick or country girl). The fact that I’d never even visited Puerto Rico at that point was irrelevant to my classmates. I was mortified. I swore I’d only bring PB&Js to lunch in the future. But as an adult, this dish has become important to me, because it serves as the link to my Puerto Rican culture.

What is Bacalao Guisado?

Bacalao Guisado, or salted cod stew, is a rich, tomato-based stew flavored with onions, peppers,…

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