Falling in love with Food

For those who don’t know how to cook.

First, I want you to know that I’m not a chef, nor do I claim to know about food. I haven’t gone to culinary school, and for a long time, an instant soup cooked to perfection was my best recipe (if I didn’t forget it on the stove and end up burning everything). So, if you think I’m going to give you a high-end cuisine lecture, don’t worry, I won’t.

What I will tell you is that, although I never had much interest in cooking, like so many other Mexicans, I’ve always loved food. Thursdays were always about pozole, tacos were a must-have at night, and on Fridays or Sundays, we would go out to eat even fresher seafood. I love eating, I always have, but my biggest relationship with food was washing the dishes. And even though my family has generations of people who not only know how to cook but have had restaurants, from one in front of the bullring in Mexico to a taco cart and a steakhouse.

Food has always been present, but it wasn’t until I packed my bags and cut the umbilical cord with my family that I realized that a burned instant soup wasn’t enough to live on, especially when my income was as a scholarship student in a foreign country. So one day, tired of eating junk food, I went to buy chicken and vegetables and decided to prepare something.

And this is more or less what I prepared:

In a frying pan, I put plenty of oil and added the chicken with salt and pepper. Then I added the vegetables, consisting of tomatoes, onions, and peppers of different colors, and kept stirring everything. The smell was incredible, it was so delicious that I said to myself, “How come I didn’t do this all the time? It’s super easy!”

Not only could I perceive the incredible aroma that this chicken with vegetables transmitted, but others in the adjacent dormitories asked me about my incredible dish and if it was typical Mexican food. With a tricolored heart, I said yes, that it was something we often prepared (you can guess which dish I’m talking about). Just when I noticed that the chicken was a little toasted, I turned off the stove and put it on a plate, happy that I could eat something tasty and made by me.

I can tell you, dear reader, that after years of watching my grandmother and mother cook and of thousands of family meals with incredible food, what I prepared that day was absolute rubbish. The chicken was raw in the center, the vegetables weren’t all cooked correctly, and some were hard to chew.

That was my first dish that I prepared when I moved to China, an absolute disaster. I think my neighbors in the room didn’t have the heart to tell me why, and to this day, they never said anything. And if you ask my mother, she was the first to confirm what a disaster I was in the kitchen.

Now you’ll tell me, Laura, I thought this was a love letter to food? And yes, it is (at least I try to make it so). Because that day my dish was a disaster, but it was that first failed attempt that awakened something different in me. My mind could only focus on cutting, frying, preparing, serving, tasting. It was as if nothing existed around me. I wasn’t worried that I only had $10 or $15 for three days of food, I wasn’t worried that the exams that would decide if I continued with the scholarship were approaching. The only thing there was me and the constant rhythm of preparing something that didn’t exist before.

My mind wasn’t in this world, it was in a new one, full of flavors, smells, fragrances, and memories from my childhood, where my mother served me dinner and we talked about the day, or my grandmother giving me a list of dishes available in her refrigerator, which she thought was not enough to feed a visitor.

It was at that moment that I knew the connection between food and our history, our emotions, a connection that has led me to years of exploring the world and trying its food.

A long time has passed since that day, and today I can tell you that I understand the differences in cooking meat, the type of oil to use, the materials, the type of knife to use, how to serve, and most importantly, what type of ingredients to use. Today I share with you my love not only for eating but also for preparing that food. And as I said, I’m not a chef, I don’t intend to be one, I’m just like many others, a lover of food.

Enjoy your meal!

Published by Laura Cortes - Business Coach

I help entrepreneurs to Source, Develop & Sell Products From China | Business Consultant & Specialist

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: