Who taught me to love food? Well, that is really quite simple. Just two words, in fact. My Mom. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, which was far more common back then. To give you an idea of what "back then" means, I am 45 years old. Mom cooked dinner almost every night. On the nights that she did not cook a fresh dinner, it was because there were leftovers from the night before. No problem. I, for one, love leftovers. Upon arriving home from school each day, my brothers and I were greeted by the tantalizing aromas that permeated the entire house. To smell those aromas was like getting a hug from Mom as soon as she opened the door even before we got an actual hug. We are of Puerto Rican descent and Mom fed us accordingly. While Mom never set foot in a culinary school, her dishes were genuine and true to her beloved island. She learned by watching her own mother. Rice was a must - almost always the side dish. Mom cooked the rice in a caldero, which is similar to a Dutch oven with a tight fitting lid. It should be a life requirement to smell sofrito and tocino (pork fatback) simmering away at the bottom of a caldero. It smells that good. What I did not realize at the time, was that having a fresh cooked meal each night and sharing same with one's siblings was a dying art. Today's hectic schedules do not allow for such. Thank you, Mom, for the delicious food memories which are forever in my heart.
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