Photo: Santana Dempsey
GOYA products approached us to do a fun cooking post for Latino Heritage Month. And I thought, why not, I love to cook!
I’m not a trained cook, but my love for cooking comes from watching three women in my life create fantastic dinners. And this post is my tribute to them: my great-mama Adelina Grant (Colombian), my abuelita Julia Grant de Courtney (Colombian), and my mami Patricia S. Ortiz (Panamanian). These three women had busy lives raising their kids along with being working women.
My great grandmother raised four children and worked as a domestic back in her homeland of Colombia and Panamá. She retired in her 60s to take care of my brother and me when our mom came to the U.S.A. I have many wonderful memories of her; and one in particular is how she got me to eat fish. I never liked stewed fish as a kid, but to get me to eat it, she tried cooking it in different ways for me. Finally, fried fish was the winner.
Photo collage of four generations
L-r: Adelina Grant, Julia Grant de Courtney, Patricia S. Ortiz and Angela Ortíz
My mom and grandmother came to the United State as domestics, cleaning and cooking for the families they worked for, even though they worked in other fields in their homelands. My mom worked in sales back in Panamá and my grandmother even worked as a cook in a hotel in Medellín, Colombia. These two strong women came to a new country, did what they had to do to survive and in a couple of years moved on to other work. By the time my abuelita retired, she was a nurse’s aid. And our mom managed a doctor’s office for many years, started her own freelance billing business, and retired as an office manager for a medical clinic.
Along the way, they fed their families wonderful, filling, and fulfilling meals. This is where I return to why I enjoy cooking and eating. I learned a lot by watching these women and asking questions: why did they use a particular spice in a dish? Why did they slice that cut of meat a certain way? How did they know to pick the freshest produce? Then I proceeded to school myself with recipe books…and of course, I watched the Food Network once it was on the air. I’ve cooked many different types of cuisines at least once.
I have my favorites recipes and I like to create my own quick meals, too.
The meal I fixed for this fun post includes GOYA’s Garbanzos (Chick Peas), and their Manzanillas Spanish Olives. I added them to some spicy Italian and Bratwurst sausages with leeks, garlic, mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper and a little silver Tequila. Then I served it over some mixed greens and cabbage.
I cook to taste, and this is one of my quick little meals that I cook for my family and friends. Enjoy! — A.O.
Photos: ©2016 Angela María Ortíz S.