Brook Park hosts annual feast

Erenis Hidalgo, co-founder of Woke Foods, stirs the sancocho at Brook Park on Sept. 31By Frida Sterenberg

Two large pots on a wood fire at Brook Park bubbled with ingredients that community members had brought on Sept. 31, to celebrate the annual Big Bronx Sanochazo.

Although the main dish consisted of a type of pumpkin called auyama, there was also lots of yellow corn, yuca, and bright green cilantro thrown into the mix throughout the afternoon as residents and their friends kept filling the cauldron. Steam rose all around and the distinct aroma attracted the curious and the hungry.

The stew or “sancocho,” is a typically Caribbean delicacy, but the Brook Park reworking of the traditional dish had a distinctly Dominican flavor to it, with the auyama taking center stage. One of the pots was purely vegetarian, while the other contained chicken and beef.

After a few hours in the making, all present shared in the feast.

“It’s our version of the Stone Soup, where most of the food is donated by the community,” said Raybblin Vargas, communications coordinator at Hunts Point-based Green Worker Cooperatives, alluding to a folk tale that emphasizes the value of working together and sharing for the survival and well-being of the group. The group launched the first annual event four years ago as a way to draw attention to the value of cooperatives, Vargas explained.