Yesterday I was chatting with my friend an amazing and talented writer about the message I wanted to convey with my first book. It got me thinking about the many cookbooks I owned.
I have a huge collection.
I love flipping through the photos and recipes of so many talented chefs. Each one puts their own spin on very similar dishes. And the pictures and techniques they use to fire up my creative cooking juices. ONE book stands out above all the others.
The one my mom gave me on her last trip to the States.
It is her own handwritten cookbook…
A simple black journal that no longer has a spine. You can feel the love on each page scatted with her scrawl which is barely legible. The recipes spill out everywhere. They’re stained with flour, oil, fingerprints, and smudges from years and years of use.
It contains most of my mom and my Aunty Slyvia’s favorite recipes. And there really are no measurements and ingredients. Just a list of ingredients in no particular order.
Granted I cook with way less butter, sugar, and flour than them. I have been strongly influenced by my travels around the world and my dishes have a lot more international influences.
I never trained as a chef.
In fact, I studied to be an accountant and spent a lot of my working life auditing numbers. All the basics were all learned at my mom’s side.
When I moved to the US I wanted to recreate the flavors of home. I would get my mom on the phone and have her talk me through the recipes. I would keep her on the phone while I cooked asking so many questions along the way. No wonder most of my salary was spent on my phone bill.
She used to always say… if you need a recipe you cannot cook.
Taste, taste, and taste again…
Your taste buds will tell you what the dish needs.
There are MISTAKES in the kitchen!!!
I like to think that I am encouraging Jade in the same way to find the chef inside herself. I want her to add a dash of this and a pinch of that and be guided by her 5 senses.
And I hope my handwritten journal will become something she treasures. I guess I realized that with my cookbooks I hope to inspire people to get into the kitchen with their families and make memories. I want them to use my recipes as a loose guideline by putting their own fingerprint on each dish.
THE SECRET INGREDIENT IS AMORE!
Cooking is a creative dance that gives you the freedom to play. The love you add to every dish is the magic that makes it so special And this food will nourish those you are serving it to.
My goal is to teach my students how to cook not how to follow a recipe. I encourage them to experiment and use what they have on hand. And I hope that when they leave my classes they will tweak and change my recipes. Leave out or add their own ingredients depending on their likes and what is in season.
I want to thank my mother
The amazing Eleanor Rosalind Goodman for making me fall in love with food, cooking, entertaining, and eating. I learned from the best. And I miss you every single day but I can feel you in the kitchen every time I fire up the burners and start slicing and dicing.
I STILL HAVE EPIC FAILURES, BUT I’M NOT AFRAID TO TRY NEW THINGS.
I also owe so much to Saul and Jade for being my guinea pigs as I test and experiment. I don’t always get it right. Some dishes are total flops. They are my official tasters and have made my books better with their unwanted yet very justified criticism.
And to all of you around the world… thanks for the continued love and support. I am eternally grateful for your love and support. If you wanna grab a copy of my cookbooks head to my shop.
Till then buon appetito.