We are two sisters and a mother all born and raised in El Paso, Texas. We learned to cook from our grandmother and mother, Jesusita, whose hospitality and irresistible Mexican recipes were legendary among family and friends. We started this blog and wrote our cookbook to celebrate and preserve our family’s special culinary heritage. Besides this blog, we have also been featured in Latina Magazine, and the websites of Paula Deen, The Pioneer Woman, SAVEUR, Siempre Mujer, and Gourmet, among others. We have also been on several radio shows and local TV in El Paso and are featured chef’s on the Avocados from Mexico website.
I’m a mother, wife, author, graphic designer, food blogger, and recipe developer in Denver, Colorado. I was raised in El Paso, Texas and draw culinary inspiration from my grandmother’s old-world northern Mexican recipes and my mother’s comforting south of the border home-style dishes.
In my family I was the one teased for not cooking Mexican meals for my husband. Luckily for me, I married a great cook who is no stranger to the kitchen. I reserved my Mexican culinary skills for the weekends and entertaining family and friends. Stumbling upon my grandmother’s rolling pin, years after her passing forever changed my perspective about cooking. It was that same rolling pin that was used for decades by my grandmother to make endless batches of homemade tortillas, empanadas, and other homemade treats. To all who entered her home, sons, daughters, grandchildren and friends, the shout from my grandmother’s kitchen was always the same. “Pásale, Pásale, vengan a comer.” (Come in, come in. Come in and eat.) My grandmother tirelessly worked between the hot stove and the table, rolling, stirring, flipping, and chopping. The loving memories and rolling pin have inspired me to celebrate my culture, my grandmother and my mother, by preserving the generations of traditions en la cocina. And so, I set forth to design a blog and now a beautifully colored cookbook with delicious recipes from my grandmother and mother to ensure these dishes are recorded for future generations to enjoy. These south-of-the-border dishes thrilled my imagination and I knew that I wanted to capture not only the recipes but also the cultural background and family memories that came along with them. Once I started compiling recipes and cooking them I realized these big flavorful dishes were easy-to-prepare. They encouraged me to come up with additional modern Latin-inspired recipes with my own special twist. This compilation has evolved into three-generations of recipes with authentic Mexican flavor.
In 2012, my proudest moment was when I participated in an intimate round-table discussion with First Lady Michelle Obama, representing Latina mothers and their concerns.
Evangelina (Vangie) Soza
I was born in El Paso, Texas in the 1940’s. I am a homemaker and seamstress. I divorced young and was a single mother with a son and two daughters. As a single working mother, I worked several jobs trying to make ends meet. During the day I worked at a garment factory and worked nights at a hospital. As a means of making extra money, it was during these times that I made and sold homemade chile relleno burritos, during my lunch hour. I became quite popular for my burritos and I always sold out. When I saved enough money, I purchased my parent’s grocery store, Soza’s Grocery. I not only owned and managed the store; I prepared and sold more of my homemade favorites. This time I made tortas, shrimp cocktail, and menudo on Sundays. Neighbors would flock to Soza’s Grocery, with their pots in hand, to buy homemade menudo, a Mexican soup that is attempted by only the best cooks. I still live in El Paso and am semiretired working part-time as a caretaker for the elderly. I am always busy cooking, baking, crocheting, or crafting something for my grandchildren. I especially enjoy sharing my delicious treats with family and friends. Every year at Thanksgiving, I give away my homemade pumpkin pies and famous biscochos for Christmas. When I was teaching my daughters to cook, I had no idea that one-day it would lead to this heartfelt cookbook of family recipes capturing all that is muy bueno. This blog and our cookbook is a true cultural celebration for past, present, and future generations to enjoy, whether you are a novice cook or gourmet chef looking for your next culinary fix. It’s a collaboration that began as a tiny seed and has now blossomed into a reminder of all that is good. “Pásale, Pásale, vengan a comer.”
I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas, where I attended the University of Texas at El Paso, UTEP, and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Education. After graduation I taught in Colorado where my lust for travel began. Two years later I moved to Okinawa, where I continued to teach for six years. While living abroad I longed for my mom’s green enchiladas and my grandmother’s homemade tortillas. Every summer, while in El Paso, I’d practice making both my mother’s and grandmother’s recipes from scratch. I especially enjoyed cooking with fresh ingredients and herbs, both of which were quite expensive while living abroad. After the watchful eye and advice from my mother, I’d go next door to my grandmother’s house to watch her make tortillas. I convinced myself that if I watched her tortilla making technique I would miraculously learn how to make them as well as she did. I can still see her every move in my mind.
When grandma passed in 2004, the one and only thing I requested was one of her rolling pins. I knew in my heart of hearts, that if I had one of her rolling pins I would always have her nearby. Today I still have and use the same rolling pin when making tortillas and empanadas. While living abroad I began collecting my favorite recipes, simply to quench my cravings and entertain my friends and husband. Cooking some of the recipes from scratch I was able to convince my friends that Mexican food did not come from a can. I still have some of the original recipes my mother mailed to me, one dating as far back as December 1993. Over the years, I saved the recipes and promised myself to put them into a cookbook. As a wife and working mother of two children, my dream of completing my beloved cookbook took the back burner to life. My dream would have to wait.
In October 2012 I finally published our family’s cookbook with the help of my sister and mom. I now live in Germany and spend my time teaching Spanish, styling and photographing food, developing recipes, writing, and shopping for props. I love testing new food ideas and combinations of food and writing about it.