22 Food Items Gal Pals Brought Into My Life


Hello, snaps, crackles and pops! Right now, Beyoncé is singing about waiting for me to get home to her so I can turn that cherry out. It’s a good Sunday. Let’s talk about food and gal pals.

I grew up on Puerto Rican food with a side of quick fix American dinners. At 19, I was someone who mainly ate some form of rice and beans or chicken tenders and french fries. Oh, and guacamole but that’s because I loved nachos, not bc of heritage — see above ethnicity. But then I started dating, flirting with and going out with all sorts of mind-blowing, hyper-intelligent, and food-savvy women. And even the ones that weren’t so great brought some tasty treats my way. My whole culinary world exploded — not literally, but so close to literally that you could feel the sonic booms. So to all the gal pals, secret crushes, and sexfriends that bought delicious foods into my life, this post is for you. May you all still be eating well and feeding the people you love.

1. Mushrooms


2. Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Italian girls from Westchester hold a special place in my heart.

3. Butternut Squash


4. Pizza Dough

When the sweetest human teaches you how to make pizza dough, you eat forever.

5. Hot Pockets

I still don’t know if I ever liked how these tasted or if I just thought it was cute that she’d cooked for me.

6. Snap Peas


7. Aloo Gobi

Thank you forever to the sweet and beautiful girls who took pity on me in East Harrow. They saved me from stomach rumblings by sharing the foods their moms and aunties cooked for them growing up. All I had to do was talk in my New York accent and wash dishes afterwards.

8. Cauliflower

Who knew cauliflower wasn’t just the nasty sidekick to a gross vegetable platter at a Superbowl Party?

9. CrepesMore specifically banana + nutella crepes


10. Purple Potatoes


11. Esquites

Legit wept the first time I ate esquites.

12. Shallots


13. Corn Dogs

Katy Perry uses corn dogs to start fights over sports ball.

14. Maryland Crabs

The crab fest thing was barbaric and weird, for me. But it’s huge in Maryland.


Yes, those are the mallets that come w your food.

14a. Old Bay Seasoning

Because this is how crabs are seasoned in Maryland.

15. Pizza with Sweet Corn and Prawns

Something inside of me died a little bit when I ordered pizza with foxy Brits for the first time. Y’all are putting what now on this pizza? I still ate it tho.

16. Cinnamon in Coffee


17. Mangu Dominicano

Dominican girls run the world.

18. Brussels Sprouts

Found out this year that brussels sprouts grow on a stalk. Thanks, Trader Joe’s. I thought maybe they came from a bush. Nope, stalks.

19. Salad


20. Green Chiles

The Latina desert dykes I chilled with in Santa Fe killed it with these chiles.


21. Empanadas


22. The greatest cookies of all time

I knew she loved me when she made my momma homemade Oreos.

* Bonus Drink: Bulleit Bourbon

Because what else is your burlesque-dancing homegirl outta New Orleans going to bring to drink and reminisce over?


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Gabrielle Rivera is an awesomely queer Bronx bred, writer, spoken word artist and director. Her short stories and poems have been published in various anthologies such as the Lambda Award winning Portland Queer: Tales from the Rose City and The Best of Panic! En Vivo from the East Village. Her short film "Spanish Girls are Beautiful" follows a group of young Latina and Caucasian girls who like girls as they hook up, smoke up and try to figure sh*t out. She also freelances for Autostraddle.com while working in the film and television industry. Gabrielle is currently working on her first novel while bouncing around NYC performing spoken word and trying to stick it to the man.

gabby has written 102 articles for us.


  1. Ah, love this post! We haven’t cooked for each other yet, but via going out to eat my gal pal has brought pupusas, chilaquiles, and squash quesadillas into my life! Damn, I gotta think of some food item to introduce her to, this has been a good reminder… THANKS, GABBY

  2. Lots of new odeas for when I see Christine!! Haha. I remember the first time she cooked for me. We werent dating yet but we did a lot of drinking parties at my house. She made pork chops and tacos with fried wonton wrappers for the shell.
    The first time she cooked for me when we were actually together?… I think it involved cauliflower and carrots. But then there was this time I introduced her to my friends and they came over to the house. She made cheesy spaghetti and I knew it was forever. Then she made carbonara for my whole family at a party and it was really forever. Pasta forever

    I think Ive only cooked for her 2x?….it was baked salmon and beef stew. My mom’s recipe..

  3. cinnamon in coffee foreverrrrr

    do you just sprinkle it on top or do you mix it in with the grounds?

    • both. mainly i mix it in over the stove with milk and sugar. making coffee is my daily ritual. i would love to make you some!

    • try putting a tiny tiny tablespoon of cardamom in your ground coffee – it tastes like heaven.

    • Cinnamon in coffee is amazing! (Though I never considered mixing it into the grounds – good idea!) I also love cocoa powder in coffee.

  4. Middle Eastern here! Put a dash of cardamom and a tiny pinch of sea salt in your coffee too. You won’t regret it – unless you pour straight from the salt shaker into your mug… Dating a black and Puerto Rican lady opened my eyess up to the best ways to make rice and beans, sweet or salty platanos, Mac n cheese, and pasteligios. I’m
    Pescatarian, she became pescatarian too, so we had the pleasure of mixing the spices fresh instead of buying the preservative-filled, meat-flavored goya mixes. I on the other hand introduced any and every vegetable I could into her diet!

    • Yo, i’ve been trying to figure out how to make soup and/or good pink beans without Sazón or the Goya packets. Or chunks of pork. It’s really fucken hard! There’s something about the msg + the meat flavor that really adds that extra thing to both soup and/or beans.

      I had to start over and do the same thing you mentioned. I used every fresh spice I could find and recreate what was missing. The beans still don’t taste like my Titi’s but they’re mad good. Soup. I’m still trying to figure out the soup thing tho. anyway hi!

      • crock pot? it works magic on beans and meats. i’m amazed how freakin’ good straight-up beans with salt and a little oil taste after slow-cooking overnight. it’s a food miracle.

    • good that I read your comment about two seconds after I wrote a comment about cardamom coffee. ;)

  5. I just wanna say that laura’s crepes are amazing and it is gal pals, exclusively, who have alerted me to the various usages and pleasures of brussels sprouts, which i hadn’t ever had prior to a few years ago. right now my girlfriend is out of town and basically every day i keep trying to re-create the breakfasts she always makes for us but it’s SO MUCH BETTER WHEN SHE DOES IT

    • gal pals are the reason i have a bank account.
      gal pals are the reason i know how to drive a car.
      gal pals are the reason for the season.

      • Okay, making some sort of card that says Gal Pals Are the Reason for the Season. (giving you credit of course Gabby)

  6. Ah this is great! Good memories of sharing new foods with friends. I live in the Southwest and shop at Food City, which features food staples from Mexico that I want to learn more about: their cheese selections from Oaxaca and other regions look so tasty. And all the different kinds of chili peppers; it’s a flavor extravaganza.

    Never had epazote or esquites before but I look forward to making that dish. Thanks!

  7. a little insulted that blood oranges and matzo ball soup didn’t make the list but that’s fine, i guess we aren’t the pals i thought we were (sniff)

  8. I did have a Australian friend I had a crush on, recommend me kangaroo meat sort of. I was watching footnetwork and they were at this local restaurant that served meats not usually seen in this part of the country and world. I asked her is eating kangaroo common? She said yeah, and said she tried it once and it was worth a try. I went to the place alone(cause she already was back home, and all my roommates were busy that day), and tried the kangaroo burger. It was better than the previous food I tried there so I thank here, for introducing me to kangaroo. Odd I know.

    • when i was little kid, i ate a gator burger at gatorland in florida. i wonder how kangaroo and gator compare against each other. v glad to be vegetarian now.

      • You are in luck, my previous visit(which also was my first) to the restaurant. I had their gator burger made from fresh Florida gator, and topped with what the called a southern curry. The gator didn’t have much taste and was bit gamey in texture, a roommate I went with had similar thoughts. While on the other hand the kangaroo is a bit more familiar tasting(more similar to poultry if I remember correctly). I’m too am a vegetarian(vegan to be exact) now.

  9. Wtf those brussel sprout plants. I thought the little dudes simply sprouted from the ground. This is almost as interesting as when I finally found out how cashews grew.
    Great post, by the way!

  10. I’ve never thought to round-up all of the dishes and foods I’ve been introduced to over the years through various pals, but now I will! This is very cute. I’m straight up about to make another cup of coffee just to add cinnamon to it.

  11. Is this the post that started with the conversation about how dating your lady brought vegetables into your life? Bc that is a feeling I can empathize with…sometimes I wanna go back in time and tell 20-year-old Kaitlyn that the TA whose attention she’s trying to grab is gonna teach her to eat Brussels sprouts and broccoli and fucking asparagus and LOVE IT. Her eyes would’ve bugged out of her damn head.

  12. We buy sprouts on the stalk in winter. I still think they look weird even though I know that’s how they grow, quite enjoy prepping them in front of the TV, my missus cooks them with butter, bacon and chestnuts which I showed her but she does way better than me. I could eat them for every meal, but no one would live with me. I had a half German gal pal who showed me how to make schnitzels. I thank her for that, so good.

  13. Eggplant. I used to date a Vegetarian and my best friend is Turkish.
    Somehow I got eggplants out of that deal.

  14. Is there something about gal pals and brussels sprouts? because i too was introduced to their wonder by a gal pal…and then learned how to make them better than they could, to the point where she wouldn’t make them anymore. #housewifeprobs

  15. Veggie sunomono. I don’t like cucumbers, but drizzle em with rice vinegar and black sesame seeds and I am all about it.

    Channa dahl, which is also a perfect food for canning and eating on camping trips.

    Ramen that isn’t deep fried in animal fat for packaging. That shit changed. My. Life. Fresh noodles and veggies and miso? Yessssssss.

  16. Nutella banana crepes will always remind me of sunday morning brunches in college. (Sometimes the crepes themselves were even chocolate! It was lovely.)

  17. My gal pal brought beer into my life. Shes Belgian, and when I went there for three weeks I couldn’t find any cider so I had to just drink it till I liked it; didn’t take me long. Im now living in Antwerp and working in a bar so I didn’t do too badly. Belgian beer = Best beer.
    Also, the waffles here are awesome. Oh; and mayonnaise with everything (except waffles, don’t have mayo with waffles)

    • I was in Oostend for a few weeks and was impressed that the vending machines have Belgian waffles in them! Plus the beer and the chocolate; it’s a wonderland.

  18. No no no no no to Brussels sprouts! There is nothing you can do with them to make them edible, nothing.

    Not even if you add bacon, diced red bell pepper and stirfry it then serve the sprouts with the bacon, bell pepper and pickled onions topped with grated cheese.
    Not even that makes it edible.

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