• Makeup registration Monday, August 12 (8:00 am to 11:00 am)
  • Freshman registration August 6 (12:00 pm to 3:00 pm)
  • Junior registration August 6 (8:00 am to 11:00 am)
  • Sophomore registration August 5 (12:00 pm to 3:00 pm)
  • Senior registration August 5 (8:00 am to 11:00 am)
  • Cina Abedzadeh named new principal of SJHHS at June 12 board meeting
  • 6 Year Accreditation From WASC Granted: No mid-cycle Review
  • Mental Health Week April 30 - May 30
The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

The story of San Juan as told by its students

The Express

Comfort Meals: Love, Nostalgia, Culture

Domenica Peloso
For most people, certain foods hold a special place in their hearts for various reasons. At SJHHS, Shaurya Sharma’s (11) comfort meal is chicken tikka masala because it brings him closer to his culture, Iclia Rodriguez’s comfort meal is pozole because it is a reminder of her mom’s love, and Anastasia Nagorniuk’s (11) comfort meal is pelmeni because it reminds her of childhood.

Rich pasta carbonara, decadent tres leches cake, chewy tteokbokki. Food. It’s the foundation of several cultures, the backbone of our society, and one of the most basic necessities of life. 

For as long as life has existed, food has always been of immense importance. Because of this, meals have been perfected, and recipes have been passed down for over 300,000 years. 

Almost any person can name one of their favorite foods. But, for many, their favorite food can mean much more than what meets the eye. These foods can tell stories, carry on traditions, or transport people back to simpler times. 


Local Hispanic student Iclia Rodriguez’ (11) comfort meal is pozole, because food is her mom’s love language. 

Pozole is a traditional Mexican soup known for its rich, savory broth. There are three varieties of this dish: red, green, and white—each named after the color of their broths. 

You can’t say you don’t like a food if you’ve never tried it,”

— Rodriguez

Rodriguez’ favorite form of pozole is red, which has a soup base composed of pureed ancho peppers, guajillo peppers, and garlic. This spicy, smoky broth is accompanied by tender pork and chewy hominy. Hominy are corn kernels that are soaked in lye or lime solutions to make them tender and puffy. This soup’s beauty is found in its toppings which are typically lime, avocado, lettuce, onion, radish, or queso fresco.

“It’s the best on cold days because the broth is so warm, but you can eat it at any time,” said Rodriguez. 

Pozole is most frequently served during times of celebration whether that be New Years, Independence Day, or birthdays. 

“In quinceaneras, people eat pozole the morning after the whole night because the party lasts all the way into the morning,” said Rodriguez. 

To Rodgriguez, this dish is comforting because it represents the hard work, time, and dedication that her mom puts into the food she prepares.  

“My mom would always prepare pozole during the holidays so it reminds me of the joy from when I was little. It is most definitely her love language because she puts so much effort into it, and works so hard to make it every time,” said Rodriguez. 


Ukrainian immigrant Anastasia Nagorniuk’s (11) comfort meal is pelmeni, because it brings back nostalgic memories.  

When you’re a kid, everything is happier back then, so just eating food from that time is comforting,”

— Nagorniuk

Pelmeni are traditional Russian dumplings stuffed with a delicious mixture of pork, chicken, turkey, and onions. These bite size morsels have a chewy exterior dough, a perfectly salty filling, and are frequently topped with sour cream and butter. 

Having immigrated from Ukraine at the age of six, pelmeni is a beautiful reminder of Nagorniuk’s childhood. 

“My grandma would cook it for me all the time, and I’d spend my summers over there so it’s just a happy memory from the summer,” said Nagorniuk. 

Chicken Tikka Masala

Proud Indian Shaurya Sharma’s (11) comfort meal is chicken tikka masala, because it brings him closer to his culture. 

Chicken tikka masala is a British Indian dish, and arguably one of the world’s most popular curries. This dish consists of golden chicken pieces marinated in a yogurt-based sauce full of various spices including garam masala, turmeric, cumin, and Kashmiri chili. Once these bite-size pieces are cooked, they are bathed in a rich sauce of pureed tomatoes, cream, a masala spice mix, and several other ingredients. Chicken tikka masala is commonly served over a bed of rice. 

To me, a comfort food is something that has been with me since childhood, and has remained in my culture for all these years,”

— Sharma

Chicken tikka masala is eaten on all occasions, but especially during holidays or celebrations such as Diwali, a Hindu festival of lights. 

“It’s just so delicious, you can’t go wrong with chicken tikka masala. It hits on a different level,” said Sharma. 

With more than 4000 existing cultures in the world, the possibilities for food are endless—and yet it is easy to maintain a limited pallet of familiar foods in our day to day lives. 

Food is such a beautiful way to share one’s culture, experiences, and love to another person. With this in mind, it is important to keep an open mind, and empty stomach, when presented with an opportunity to try something new. 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Express
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of San Juan Hills High School. Your contribution will allow us to cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Domenica Peloso
Domenica Peloso, Opinion Editor
Domenica Peloso is a junior at San Juan Hills High School, and a second-year opinion editor for The Express. For this up and coming year, Domenica hopes to grow as a leader and find her own sense of individuality through her writing. Outside of The Express, she is an officer in National Honors Society, treasurer of ASB, and proud leader of the SJHHS Movie Club. In her free time, Domenica enjoys thrifting the most abominable clothing items known to mankind, and watching a variety of media ranging from nonsensical garbage (Too Hot to Handle) to movies equitable to the original Mona Lisa (Call Me by Your Name, Kill Bill, Fantastic Mr. Fox).
Donate to The Express
Our Goal

Comments (0)

The Express intends this area to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments, which are subject to review by The Express staff before they appear, are expected to be respectful, constructive and not embarrass or ridicule any person or group of people. Comments made here may appear online and in our print edition with a response. The Express does not allow anonymous comments and we require a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed, but will be used to confirm your comments.
All The Express Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *