A family affair

Freedom New Mexico: Liliana Castillo Aaron Belcher and his mother Glenda Belcher crack jokes over the stove as they cook spaghetti together for dinner in their Melrose home.

By Thomas Garcia: Freedom New Mexico

By Thomas Garcia

Freedom New Mexico

Like many area families, cooking up a feast or making treats in the kitchen is a long-standing holiday tradition for Curry County Home Economist Glenda Blecher and her loved ones.

The Blecher family finds it brings them closer together, a bonding that is as much a part of the season as exchanging gifts.

Belcher is usually joined by her three sons and granddaughter.

Ryan, 22, and Aaron, 17, have helped out in the kitchen for several years. Tyler, 24, has recently been joining in after spending most of the time he was in town with his father and grandfather, Belcher said.

“Ryan always liked to make the chocolate covered pretzels for Christmas,” Belcher said. “Aaron would always be right by my side when it came time to make tortillas.”

Belcher said having her sons cooking with her in the kitchen has helped her become more patient when it comes to her 5-year-old granddaughter, Pyper.

“After all these years, the boys know better than to make a mess,” Belcher said. “When it comes to Pyper, I am more easy going with sprinkles and sugar all over the kitchen.”

“Pyper likes to help out in every way, she will pull up a chair help you make cookies and even help with the cleanup,” Belcher said. “I don’t get angry when there is water all over the kitchen cause little Pyper is there to help clean up the mess. My husband (Wendell) looks forward to cooking with Pyper, he really enjoys helping her make cookies.”

Spending time in the kitchen cooking with her family is also a tradition that Veda Urioste, City of Portales Deputy Clerk, carries on today.

Urioste said that she was the youngest of seven children, five brothers and one sister, while she and her sister watched and helped in the kitchen, her brothers took care of setting the table and other chores.

“I learned a lot from watching my mother cook year after year,” Urioste said. “I learned how to make a mean stuffing and turkey.”

Now Urioste has five children of her own, three daughters ages 24, 11 and 7, and two sons aages 7 and 5. All help out during the holidays.

“I don’t let them help just yet if it involves cooking with a stove,” Urioste said. “They make snacks like Rice Krispie treats, homemade Chex mix and chocolate covered pretzels.”

Urioste said that she had the younger children help her butter the turkey one year but that did not turn out like she planned.

“They did a good job of buttering the turkey,” Urioste said. “The only problem was instead of two buttery hands I had eight greasy hands running around the house.”

Urioste said that the tradition of cooking and getting together with family is still very important to her entire family, as each of her brothers and sister and parents prepare a dish and their families come to her house during the holiday for a family feast.

“It gives us an opportunity to get together, all of the family under one roof,” Urioste said. “Cooking with the kids definitely gives me a chance to bond with the kids.”