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Bronx Stories – Keeping Meat on the Table and Honoring Mom

For two guys who grew up in The Bronx, hearty meat dishes they learned from women in their families connect them to their immigrant roots.  John O’Connell and Richard Rodriguez are both hosts for About Men Radio.

O’Connell, the youngest of four boys, makes Irish beef stew, a recipe handed down from his grandmother to his mother, and then to him. “Actually when I think about Ireland,” he says,  “I think about the potato famine. Most of the Irish dishes have potatoes. So my Irish stew is loaded with potatoes and onions.”

For O’Connell, learning how to make this dish became a test to see if he was ready to leave his childhood home to live on his own. Here is his story, produced with the help of our friends at Cowbird. It’s called “If I can make that, maybe they’ll ease off.”

View more in this series Schooled By Their Mothers, These Men Carry on Family Recipes

For Richard Rodriguez sitting down to a family meal is a “sacred time.” Rodriguez, whose parents came from Puerto Rico, remembers Sunday dinners at his grandparents’ house of roast pork, rice and beans. Now he cooks for his own children and has taught them how to make some dishes. His story is called “Let those spices do their job.”

Fi2W is supported by the David and Katherine Moore Family Foundation, the Ralph E. Odgen Foundation, and the Nicholas B. Ottaway Foundation.

AboutJocelyn Gonzales
Jocelyn Gonzales, Technical Director and Senior Producer, is a freelance radio producer in New York City. Her work has been featured on WNYC News, Studio 360, Soundcheck, Marketplace, Weekend America, Sound Money, Radiolab, Musicians Radio, Ear Studio, the Bowery Poetry Club, Minnesota Public Radio, Strange Music and Re:Sound. She was part of the team that created Studio 360, and she was the producer for DishNow Hear This! and The Conversation on WNYC. Jocelyn is a full-time faculty member at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in the sound design department, and was the principal advisor to the campus radio station, WNYU AM/FM, for several years. She is also a podcast producer at The New York Times.