Long Island Latina makes mission to celebrate Hispanic heritage all yearlong

Elisa Irvolino turned to social media to share what she's learned, from how to shape pupusas to the steps to traditional Puerto Rican dances.

Jon Dowding

Apr 10, 2024, 2:26 AM

Updated 46 days ago

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One Long Island Latina is on a mission to reconnect and learn more about her heritage by celebrating Hispanic heritage all year long.
Elisa Irvolino says it started as a New Year’s resolution to make more meaningful connections to the Latino community on the island.
"What a better way than to do a year-long Hispanic Heritage project,” she said. “So, every month, we're focusing on a different country and I get to learn about all these countries I knew nothing about."
She’s learned that her journey is helping others reconnect as well.
"We as Latinos, we have something other people don't have,” she said. "Things that are getting lost with our generation, let's bring them back and teach them to our children and carry them forward."
She turned to social media to share what she's learned, from how to shape pupusas to the steps to traditional Puerto Rican dances. In March, she learned about some Salvadorian recipes at El Matador Restaurant in Patchogue.
Co-owner Emily Alvarado opened the restaurant with her family in 2018. She showed Irvolino how to make panes con pollo, which is a traditional Salvadoran dish that is typically made during the holidays.
"We connect through food,” said Alvarado. "Not knowing all the recipes that my mom or my grandma or my dad had grown up with and seeing that she's doing it now and putting it out there for people like me to see and learn from, it's great."
Irvolino hopes to hear from as many people as possible.
"What was Abuelita's favorite thing to cook? Like, those kinds of stories just light my soul so I would love to hear from people," said Irvolino.
Irvolino welcomes anyone to connect with her on Instagram at @elisa.irvolino or her website here.


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