Muy Bueno is Spanish for very good. My grandma would always invite family and friends to her table with the same words: “Siéntate a comer, esta muy bueno” (Sit down and eat, it’s very good). And she lingered on the “muuuuy bueno” with a smile, raised eyebrows, and a twinkle in her eyes as if to let her guests know they were in for a treat. Those two words—and the memory of grandma and her legendary meals—never fail to bring a smile to my face.
I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and learned to cook from my mother, Vangie and grandma, Jesusita. Although I knew how to cook, I actually didn’t like to. It was not a passion of mine like it is today. It was until my grandma passed away in 2004 at the age of 98 years old that I had an “aha moment.” I realized that if I didn’t cook the recipes I grew up enjoying and celebrating the traditional Mexican holidays of my culture, my children would not appreciate where they came from.
My daughter helps me in the kitchen when I cook, and she loves hearing stories of my childhood. One day as we were eating dinner, she asked me if I plan to have all our recipes written down for her so that she can make them after she leaves for college. She was only 8 years old when she said this. I turned to my mother and said, “Mom, let’s write a cookbook!” And that’s how it all started.
I created this blog to document the journey of writing a cookbook and it evolved into a place where I celebrate my culture, my grandma, and my mother, by preserving the generations of traditions en la cocina. My mother Vangie and sister Veronica co-wrote Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor with me, which was a great opportunity to share our heartwarming family stories and flavorful Mexican recipes.
Initially we were going to self-publish the cookbook as a keepsake for our own children. But once the blog gained a following, we were inspired to share our book with the world. Muy Bueno offers traditional old-world northern Mexican recipes from my grandma; comforting south of the border home-style dishes from my mom; and innovative Latin fusion recipes from my sister and myself. You can watch a trailer for the book here.
Publishing Muy Bueno inspired me to continue developing modern, easy to prepare, Latin-inspired recipes with my own special twist.
Speaking of twist, I co-wrote a new book, Latin Twist: Traditional & Modern Cocktails with a fellow Latina food blogging amiga, Vianney. Latin Twist is the first book to celebrate the signature cocktails of 18 Latin American countries and Spain in one volume. It explores the history of each country’s special ingredients and liquors and includes 97 recipes for classic drinks and original creations.
I hope you take pleasure in making my recipes as much as I delight in sharing them. As my grandma used to say, “Panza llena, corazón contento” (Full stomach, happy heart).