My husband was out of work for almost 2 years and for most of that time he was the one cooking the dinners. Once he found a job I was almost at the point of going out on maternity leave (and from leave I never went back to work), so I had to start making dinners once he was back at work.
Needles to say, I grew quite lazy and complacent in those 2 years - nearly forgetting how to cook even the simplest of meals! So off to the cooking websites and cookbooks I went. I found wonderful blogs on food and began making many of the meals (can I just say, I love you, Pioneer Woman!!). My family was having country chicken, Italian pasta & gravy, Asian stir fry... I thought I was the cooking queen!! But one day hubby looked at another bowl of sausage and pasta that I so loving set down before him and muttered the words that have changed my cooking kitchen...
"Where's the rice & beans?"
What?! These meals were coming straight from the Food Network chefs! What are you talking about, rice & beans? Hubby just looked at me and said "we're Hispanic... we're having everything but rice & beans, bistec encebollao, platanos - that's the food I want." Wait... did you hear that? The sound of my cooking world smashing into bits and pieces... Well, yeah I know we are Hispanic (my husband is 1/2 Puerto Rican and 1/2 Mexican, I'm 1/2 Puerto Rican and 1/2 Dominican), but I hadn't realized that he craved the food we grew up with.
Now, I grew up on rice & beans. I love my rice & beans. But my mother never really taught me how to cook the foods of my heritage - it was just something that my husband and I always looked forward to when we went to family parties or get togethers (especially on my side where we have some awesome Dominican cooks!). So after I moped around for a few hours, mourning the death of my Food Network recipes, I sat at the computer to see if I could pull some spanish recipes off the web. I don't know why I was so surprised, but there are blogs on Hispanic cooking! I poured over many of them, reminiscing on the smells and tastes of many of the foods that I grew up with.
I started with a delicious bistec encebolloa (steak with onions) recipe that I made with plain white rice and my mother's red bean recipe (I will post one day) - and it was a hit! Hubby was so happy to come home to this food that it really made my day to see him so happy! Every day he would call to see what dish I was making - I mean he was excited to come home and eat!!
So I've traded my Food Network blogs (I will NEVER trade in Pioneer Woman though, did I mention that I love you Ree?) for my Spanish cooking blogs (I will share those here at some point) and my husband is all the better for it!
I'm so thankful to God that He has allowed me to be home for a season (I pray it's a permanent season!) and take care of my family. Being able to provide for them and keep them fed is just such a blessing and I pray that our Great Provider will continue helping me in the kitchen!
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