Gonzalez makes Cuban good eats
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- He heard it in high school. He hears it now in college. But Ohio State wide receiver Anthony Gonzalez isn't any more accepting of it.The scene usually goes like this: Gonzalez is walking down the street or eating dinner in a restaurant or roaming through a sporting goods store, when somebody he's walking with, somebody who has no clue he's half Cuban, makes a remark about Hispanics. The comment is usually a stereotype about appearance or intelligence. As Gonzalez's fair-skinned face transforms to Buckeye scarlet, he will turn to the offender and tell them he's Cuban. And watch their jaw drop. "I guess I look more white than Hispanic, so people automatically relate to me from that perspective and don't even think there's another side," Gonzalez said. "It's unfortunate that in the society we live in, stereotypes are based on how you look and not necessarily who you are. "This has always been a part of me and always will be. It's something I want everyone to know. And something I never want to take for granted." On the field, Gonzalez is an emerging offensive weapon for No. 1 Ohio State. He has caught 27 passes for more than 400 yards and four touchdowns, including a pair of touchdowns in Ohio State's nationally televised Big Ten showdown against Iowa last month. He has thrived as a compliment to Ted Ginn Jr., even though, as Gonzalez puts it, "I really don't think I'm that good." Off the field, there's something more, something that only the people close to Gonzalez know much about. An Ohio State junior, Gonzalez is the son of a Cuban immigrant and the grandson of a man who, Gonzalez said, went to school with Fidel Castro and helped overthrow Fulgencio Batista. Gonzalez grew up in suburban Cleveland immersed in Cuban culture. He referred to his grandmother as "Wella" and his grandfather as "Papi." When relatives came over, Spanish was the language of the house. After his grandfather filled a photo album with Cuban baseball cards, Gonzalez chose countryman Jose Canseco as his favorite professional athlete.
|Arroz con pollo|
One of Anthony Gonzalez's favorite recipes: • 10 chicken pieces (I usually use drumsticks and boneless, skinless thighs)
• Garlic powder
• Salt and pepper
• Cumin powder
• 6 cloves garlic -- chopped
• Bouillon cubes
• 3 cups rice
• 8 cups water
• 2 packets of Azafran seasoning packet
• One can petite peas, drained
• One small jar diced pimento
• One can beer Season the chicken with spices. Fry in extra-virgin olive oil and garlic until the chicken is almost done (about 25 minutes). Add rice, water, seasoning packet and bouillon cubes. Let cook until the water is almost gone and you can see the rice. Add the can of beer. Cover and let cook on low for about 45 minutes.
Add peas (drained) and pimento on top.Enjoy!
"If somebody said, 'You're on death row, what's the last meal you want to eat?'" Gonzalez said, "that'd be easy. Something Cuban that my mom would cook. It's just the taste. I can't describe what it is. It just tastes better to me."Gonzalez said he keeps a close eye on relations between the U.S. and Cuba, and his family is hopeful that the Castro regime ends soon so his grandmother can visit her homeland before she dies. He also plans to move to a Spanish-speaking country eventually so he can learn the language. It's all part of balancing life as a starting receiver for the No. 1 team in the country and a proud Cuban-American. "People look at me on the street or on television and they don't see a Hispanic. They don't see a Cuban," Gonzalez said. "But I want people to know this side of my life. I don't want what my grandparents went through to go away. I want that always to be a part of me. And I want people to learn -- looks can be deceiving." Wayne Drehs is a senior writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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