In the month of February Venezuela and many Latin American countries celebrate Carnival. For what I can remember, carnival was the time to have fun and go crazy because a few days carnival starts 40 days of lent when you’re supposed to focus on simple living, prayer, and fasting in order to grow closer to God. My family has always been very religious and observed Lent and Easter with much devotion. But they also know how to celebrate Carnival very eagerly.

One of my fondness memories is going to San Mancito. It was an estate or ranch owned by my aunt’s husband’s family.  They raise cattle and grew corn but it was also the family’s vacation home. It had a pool, horses, and plenty of space and comfort to host large parties.

At night there would be spontaneous ‘acts’ where people would sing or dance or where my male cousins would dress up as women and parade around the invitees telling jokes and basically embarrassing themselves.

There was always plenty food and drinks. Beef would be the main event. One way of barbecuing meat in Venezuela is called “Carne en Vara.” It’s like a huge kebab. They use a large piece of wood and cook it over open fired. The meat is served with many other types of meats, grilled veggies, dips and a variety of breads.

One of these breads is called Casabe. It’s made out of yucca, a very tough root vegetable. Casabe is considered the oldest bread in the Americas. It is a very crispy flat bread that you can break in pieces to dip in a delicious guasacaca. Guasacaca is a blended sauce made out of green peppers, garlic, onion, vinegar, cilantro, parsley and sometimes avocado.