Food is so important in my life. Not just for sustenance but because we gather around the kitchen or the dinner table and have the longest conversations. It’s actually therapeutic to me and it gives me another chance to be creative. Now that I have my daughter, it’s an opportunity for us to bond. It’s a personal accomplishment when I try something new and comes out not only delicious, but those who try it, like it. It builds my confidence and helps me surge onto more adventures in the kitchen.
Out of the siblings (I have two), I was the least picky. More than likely because I was given puree until the age of 5, and not the individual food purees that mom’s do now, I’m talking old school Hispanic “let’s dump the whole meal” in the blender type of puree. No, I’m not joking. And yes, an ENTIRE meal. If I saw it now, I would probably curl up into a ball and make gag reflexes. I HATED IT. But apparently I was such a good kid that I obediently ate it. Unlike my sister who spit it out (directly into my parents face I might add) and test the patience of whoever made her eat it. I ate it until I was 5 because by that point my brother had already been born and maybe then my parents finally took pity on me (I was going into elementary school) and gave me real food.
Since then, I became curious (maybe even desperate to try anything that wasn’t pureed). My father was (and still is) the amazing cook in my family. Those that have been lucky enough to eat his food know exactly what I mean. Growing up I would be the one to sit at the counter and watch his every move. Dad would answer the questions I had and let me work on whatever he was doing. I think he was amused by my curiosity to tell you the truth. When we would visit Abuela’s house (dad’s mom), I would always gravitate to the kitchen. Abuela almost always had something going on in there and she fed me the most delicious Cuban food (excitement was an understatement when I was given steak, grilled onions, rice and a mamey shake). My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
Besides my father, Abuela is the second person to always inspire me in the kitchen.
As time went on, I became older and suddenly I was the one making dinner during the week. My mom quickly utilized my love for food and sent me to the kitchen to help with dinner. I didn’t have a problem with it though because when mom cooked…well at the time we had to be starving in order to eat. I heard she got better after I left for college though.
I didn’t cook much in college nor did I really cook much for the boyfriend I had at the time…until I met Danny. His mom happened to like Rachael Ray and to his dismay, so did I. She also loved the Food Network (which to anyone that knows me, is a HUGE deal). Immediately, I was love struck once again. Not just for him but because I had his mom to talk to about recipes, and all the Food Network celebrities (go ahead and laugh, I know you want to). When I left home I forgot how much I loved being in the kitchen. Being at Danny’s house and conversing with my future Suegra made me realize I missed it so much.
As Danny and I began dating, I dusted off my kitchen utensils and started cooking for him. I’d like to point out though (much to my chagrin), my future husband had an aversion to certain food textures. His mom was very good to him and didn’t serve him any of those foods. I, on the other hand, flat out told him he would eat whatever I gave him…or starve. Instead of fighting me, Danny simply said ok. He trusted my cooking enough to try it at least. Do you see why I married him?
Now we have Pituchi in our lives and just like her father, she inspires me to be inventive and learn new things. She’s a tough cookie and my hardest critic so far. As for my husband, trust me when I say nothing makes a man happier than a full stomach. It may be one of the main reasons why my husband married me; he will never starve. HA!
Being in the kitchen can be fun, relaxing…even sexy. You should try it sometime.