So You Think You Can Cook?
I love to cook, I really do! Growing up, my dad was the cook at home. Don’t get me wrong, my mom was an amazing cook, and what she made was always delicious, but she hated being in the kitchen. I was fortunate enough to have both parents at home growing up. So having my dad cook was actually the norm. However, the whole “Mexican mother teach her daughter to cook tradition” never happened. And sure, my dad would give me pointers here and there but he was more of a selfish cook: the whole kitchen to himself. That didn’t stop me from learning.
My mother taught me how to make three things: scramble eggs, rice, and spaghetti when I was 12 or 13 years old. I had the basics! I fell in love with the kitchen with that. From then on, all I wanted to do was to help in the kitchen. I was a chopper and a vegetable washer but that was the extent of my help. Like I mentioned before, for my dad, the kitchen was all his, nothing that kept me from watching though. So how did I end up learning to cook? Trial and error of course! I burned I don’t know how many steaks, I under cooked I don’t know how many chicken breasts, and over salted I don’t know how many soups. The internet was not huge on googleling or youtubing recipes back then, so I had to treat the kitchen like a laboratory and just try and fail until getting the right recipe. Also, like in the laboratory, observation was the key. I would make sure that when it was time for dinner I would be there to watch my dad cook, but like the great scientist he is, he would never have a set recipe, he would experiment and come up with the best dishes off of his own improvised recipe of the day, it was fun but inconsistent.
So I experimented, not out of necessity, but rather out of the crazy love I had developed over cooking. When I finally started getting the hang of it, my dishes where actually good. I was impressing both my mom and dad. All the trial and error and observation was paying off. My mom even taught me how to make my favorite dish: chiles rellenos! By the time I met my now husband, Alejandro, I was a master in the kitchen, but only on my own improvised recipes. I feel like he fell in love with me through his stomach and not his heart. I had an official tester. I got married and “independent” and now for sure I had to learn more recipes, but this time they were “real” recipes.
I now have a plethora of recipes under my belt, and even though I don’t consider myself an expert, I feel like I can entertain some palates. I truly love cooking, mainly because it is an activity where you never stop learning. I love sharing recipes and I definitely love learning new ones. When I cook, I enter a Zen that truly fills my soul. Cooking is one of those activities that you truly have to enjoy to master and I have to say I really enjoy it. ☺