"With the Fire on High" by Elizabeth Acevedo, List 1

Emoni Santiago pursues her dream of becoming a chef while finishing high school and raising her daughter.

This list covers pages 1–58 of the 2019 HarperTeen edition ("Emoni's Recipe"–"New Things").

Here are links to our lists for the novel: List 1, List 2, List 3, List 4, List 5

Here is a link to our lists for The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. garnish
    decorate, as with parsley or other ornamental foods
    Cinnamon, enough to garnish
  2. steep
    let sit in a liquid to extract a flavor or to cleanse
    Directions:
    1. In a saucepan, heat coconut milk until it comes to a boil. Muddle a bunch of lemon verbena leaves and vanilla beans and add to the heated coconut milk. Let steep.
  3. infuse
    let sit in a liquid to extract a flavor or to cleanse
    2. After fifteen minutes, mix the infused coconut milk, salt, sugar, and cornstarch. Stir the mixture until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Let the combined ingredients come to a boil and keep stirring until the mixture begins getting pudding thick.
  4. splurge
    indulge oneself
    I wasn’t able to buy her more than three new outfits for daycare, but I’m glad I splurged on this one.
  5. reprimand
    rebuke formally
    She can’t remember what made that day different—if my pops, Julio, had been late in arriving on one of his yearly visits from San Juan, or if it’d been a time she’d gotten reprimanded at work for taking too long on someone’s measurements—but this particular day she didn’t turn the radio on and she wasn’t her usual self at the stove.
  6. stoop
    small porch or set of steps at the front entrance of a house
    ’Buela says she just stepped out onto the stoop to clear her head, and when she came back ten minutes later I had pulled the step stool to the stove, had a bunch of spices on the counter, and had my small arm halfway into the pot, stirring.
  7. char
    burn to charcoal
    All that to say, nothing charred. In fact, when ’Buela tasted it (whatever “it” was) she says it was the best thing she’d ever eaten.
  8. innate
    inborn or existing naturally
    My aunt Sarah says it’s in our blood, an innate need to tell a story through food.
  9. motivational
    of or serving to provide incentive or stimulus to action
    Ms. Fuentes has been my advisor since my first day at Schomburg Charter, and her classroom has never changed. Lady still has the same motivational sign above her door: You’re the Author of Your Own Life Story.
  10. loquacious
    full of trivial conversation
    Ms. Fuentes stops mid-shade-fussing to side-eye me. “You’re always so loquacious. It’s refreshing to have a student who believes in something other than monosyllables.”
  11. faze
    disturb the composure of
    My silence doesn’t faze Ms. Fuentes at all. “I have a surprise for you when the bell rings—a class I think you would love.”
  12. funky
    stylish and modern in an unconventional way
    It wasn’t only that my feet ached and I cooked the funkiest meals (they were still so good they’d make you twerk something, but definitely off the wall: macaroni jalapeño burgers and Caribbean jerk lamb tacos).
  13. curriculum
    an integrated course of academic studies
    She said switching me midyear into a new school would be a hard adjustment, and that since the program had a decelerated curriculum it would affect my graduating on time.
  14. affect
    have an influence upon
    She said switching me midyear into a new school would be a hard adjustment, and that since the program had a decelerated curriculum it would affect my graduating on time.
  15. pivotal
    being of crucial importance
    I know she called ’Buela beforehand to discuss it, and they must have come up with a plan, because ’Buela was quick to chime in, saying my staying at Schomburg Charter would be “ pivotal for my retention and matriculation.”
  16. retention
    the act of keeping something
    I know she called ’Buela beforehand to discuss it, and they must have come up with a plan, because ’Buela was quick to chime in, saying my staying at Schomburg Charter would be “pivotal for my retention and matriculation.”
  17. matriculation
    admission to a group, especially a college or university
    I know she called ’Buela beforehand to discuss it, and they must have come up with a plan, because ’Buela was quick to chime in, saying my staying at Schomburg Charter would be “pivotal for my retention and matriculation.”
  18. elective
    a course that the student can select from among alternatives
    “The first announcement is that there are going to be changes to the schedule. In August some new faculty members were hired, and needless to say, it has affected class schedules. There are new elective courses being offered for seniors, and I’m going to pass around the new course listing. The second announcement is about a new student.”
  19. culinary
    of or relating to or used in cooking
    I wave to Ms. Fuentes on my way out, looking at the long list of electives. The old favorites are still there: Photography, Creative Writing, Woodshop, Dance. And there, tucked at the bottom of the list: Culinary Arts: Spain Immersion.
  20. immerse
    devote fully to
    I wave to Ms. Fuentes on my way out, looking at the long list of electives. The old favorites are still there: Photography, Creative Writing, Woodshop, Dance. And there, tucked at the bottom of the list: Culinary Arts: Spain Immersion.
  21. chutney
    a spicy relish usually made with fruit, vinegar, and spices
    If they put a little chutney on the bread, or a nice garlic spread and toasted it, this sandwich would be bomb.
  22. martyr
    one who suffers for the sake of principle
    “That martyr thing you do when you want something but convince yourself you can’t have it because of Babygirl, or ’Buela.”
  23. textile
    of or relating to fabrics or fabric making
    Schomburg has offered immersion classes before. A pre-Columbian history class that took students to an archeological site in Mexico, a fashion design class that took students on a tour of old textile mills in New England.
  24. pang
    a sudden sharp feeling
    And sometimes focusing on what you can control is the only way to lessen the pang in your chest when you think about the things you can’t.
  25. lineage
    the kinship relation between an individual and progenitors
    Aunt Sarah has shared some baby pictures of my mother and her as children, and I like to think I can see that lineage in her button nose, the seashell of her ears.
  26. garble
    distort or make false by mutilation or addition
    I nod at Babygirl as she garbles out a summary of the choo-choo trains book.
  27. mantel
    a shelf that projects from the wall above fireplace
    ’Buela dusts off the family photos on the mantel.
  28. resent
    feel bitter or indignant about
    Although ’Buela never said anything to make me feel ashamed, I always wonder if she thinks I’m fast. If she secretly resents me for Babygirl.
  29. temperamental
    subject to sharply varying moods
    I hold my hands up in surrender. Did I mention that my sous chef is temperamental?
  30. stifle
    smother or suppress
    I pause. Not sure what she means by “a little late” and not sure I want to find out. “Yeah, I guess. That was a long time ago. These days, I don’t need anyone to stifle my creativity.”
  31. staple
    a necessary commodity for which demand is constant
    I started playing around with the staples of the house: rice, beans, plantains, and chicken.
  32. plantain
    a banana tree bearing hanging clusters of edible angular greenish starchy fruits; tropics and subtropics
    I started playing around with the staples of the house: rice, beans, plantains, and chicken.
  33. prestigious
    having an illustrious reputation; respected
    I expected her to mention the magnet school with the most prestigious culinary arts program in the city.
  34. gastronomy
    the art and practice of preparing and eating good food
    I’d already done some googling in the library and knew it was the best school around, with restaurant-management classes and gastronomies—all kinds of fancy courses.
  35. compelling
    tending to persuade or interest by forcefulness of argument
    Ms. Fuentes says the topic should be “ compelling,” but how am I supposed to know what compels a college admissions person?
  36. abroad
    to or in a foreign country
    She moves closer to me. “You’ve talked so much in Advisory about how you love to cook. I think taking this class and traveling abroad will be an amazing opportunity.”
  37. decency
    the quality of conforming to rules of propriety and morality
    He doesn’t even have the decency to pretend he’s not all in my business.
  38. busybody
    a person who meddles in the affairs of others
    I was so nervous about a busybody neighbor seeing me bring a boy home that we went all the way to his house in Mount Airy while his parents were at work.
  39. accompaniment
    something added to complete or embellish or make perfect
    I plated them with no accompaniment and I ate and ate until there was nothing left on my plate but a smear of oil.
  40. superstitious
    showing faith in magic and ignorance of the laws of nature
    I didn’t know what kind of future I would be handing down to my daughter by pressing a name on her from the past. ’Buela raised me pretty superstitious about things like that.

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