My love of food (a.k.a. comida) started at an early age and was nurtured through generations of home cooks that have come before me. Growing up Chicana in Southern California, I have learned a repertoire of Mexican American cuisine from my mom, aunts, and grandmothers. And if visions of foods from Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate (1995) or the 2001 film Tortilla Soup are coming to mind, that’s not exactly the kind of cuisine that I grew up with. To be sure, my mom and aunts know how to throw down in the tamale making, a special recipe they learned from my grandma. Aside from tamales, my grandma was equally skilled in making homemade preserves from fruit she grew in her backyard garden and in rolling out perfectly cylindrical flour tortillas. In my own mother’s kitchen, the cuisine ranged from homemade enchiladas (chile from the can) to meat loaf (a la Betty Crocker) and always plenty of veggies. My dad cooked Saturday morning breakfast with fried eggs, fried potatoes, and fried sausages. Occasionally, he rounded out breakfast with a nice white bag of pan dulce, Mexican sweet bread (the gingerbread piggies were my favorite). All so delicious and eagerly devoured.
During my early twenties, I began living away from home and my culinary skills developed through my friendships in college. My roommates, also from So Cal but by way of Oaxaca, Mexico introduced me to Oaxacan string cheese, hand-milled chocolate, and pan de muerto, Day of the Dead bread that their grandmother would mail to us. They also introduced me to such delicacies as chapulines, fried grasshoppers, which were actually quite tasty (a salty lemon flavor). Our apartment’s kitchen table served the role of our desk during final exams and also as the locus of our many dinner parties with friends.
Now in my thirties, almost forties, I find myself in a new food loving chapter. Living in New England, a long way from California both geographically and foodiegraphically, the cuisine is much different from what I grew up with. I’m married to a man of Cape Verdean heritage whose food upbringing was not unlike my own (American cuisine with a mix of culturally specific fare). His mom’s jag, Cape Verdean rice with peas is reminiscent of my mom’s arroz, Spanish fried rice. Both his family’s manchupa and my family’s menudo can warm any cold day and are made in large vats. My husband, who also did a stint in culinary school, is one of my favorite people to cook with. He’s introduced me to new foods that I’ve never had (lobster and stuffed quahogs) and has helped me to greatly improve in my mise en place and knife skills.
One of the most transformative experiences for my culinary adventure has been the birth of our daughter, who is my favorite baking partner. With a preschooler in the kitchen, I’ve learned to embrace not always being exact in my measurements and also having messy counters and floors. Most especially, I’ve enjoyed nuturing her love of baking and creating new foodie memories and family recipes.
This blog is a documentation of my favorite recipes and foods. In particular, I like to experiment with grain free and gluten free recipes, but I also may occassionally include recipes with wheat and other grains. The overarching theme is a “love of food.” I look forward to connecting with other recipe mavens and food lovers.
Thanks for reading!