Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

This week, Estaphany Rodriguez, the Family and Community Coordinator for Revere Public Schools, hosted a special segment on RevereTV’s Family Liaison Cooking Series.

In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, Rodriguez and Reiko Marcos, a CityLab High School teacher, showcased the art of preparing a traditional Japanese dish, onigiri.

During the segment, Marcos, who was born and raised outside Osaka, guides viewers through the steps of making these tasty Japanese rice balls. Onigiri is usually a lunch item or something one eats when outside, like during a picnic. 

Marcos explained that Onigiri is like a sandwich in Japan and was born about 2000 years ago, when rice farming was introduced to her native country. The dish became instantly popular, and samurais would bring onigiri when they went into battle. About 400 years ago, when the Japanese started traveling longer distances, onigiri was often used as a ‘travel food.”

During the show, Marcos and Rodriguez provided viewers at home with some insights into Japanese culture. Japan is only one of the many countries honored during AAPI Heritage Month.

“The biggest thing in Japanese culture is respect for others,” said Marcos. Marcos also provided a link between diet, education, and spirituality in Japanese culture. 

“Eating healthy is one of the most important parts of education in Japan,” she said. Marcos added that there is a great emphasis in Japan on eating healthy and its impacts on having a sharp mind and living a long and fruitful life. 

Marcos is a part-time lecturer in Japanese at Boston University, and prior to coming to Revere to teach, she worked as a Japanese instructor at Brookline High School, was a data linguist, an assistant editor at The Japan Times in Tokyo, an editor at Uruma Magazine in Okinawa, and also wrote and edited English and Japanese articles for the bilingual newspaper Japan Update. 

Marcos received her Master’s Degree from Kobe City University of Foreign Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature from Osaka Prefecture University.

AAPI Heritage Month is observed in the United States during the month of May and recognizes the contributions and influence of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islander Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

RPS’s Family Liaison Cooking series kicked off in February through a partnership with RevereTV. The new cooking series features RPS family liaisons from across the school district making recipes from their native countries.

The first episode featured Sujeiris Ryan, Hill Elementary School Family Liaison, making several dishes from the Dominican Republic in honor of Dominican Independence Day. 

Since the launch of the series, the program has featured recipes and liaisons from Morocco, Peru, and Puerto Rico. 

Part of RevereTV’s popular What's Cooking Revere was the brainchild of RPS Assistant Superintendent of Equity and Inclusion Dr. Lourenço P. Garcia and RevereTV Executive Director Bob Dunbar. 

Watch the full episode at https://tinyurl.com/2ac9fejs.