Here comes my hero…

Have you ever had one of those days at work where all you want to do is just get home, sit on the couch with a big bowl of ice cream and watch tv; well, that is exactly what I wanted to do. After having a tough day at work all I wanted was to get home and watch my favorite cooking show.

Lately, I haven’t been cooking much and honestly I haven’t had much inspiration on doing so, my mind is been filled with other things and I have let my passion for cooking on the side while I try to figure some things out. So here I was with a bowl of pasta sitting on the couch with my cat trying to forget about the world for a bit when my favorite cooking show started. Ironically enough the week’s theme was ”who is your personal culinary hero”, who was the person that inspires you every day to cook and who you aspire to be. As I was watching the contestants talk about their hero’s and create dishes that give homage to them I couldn’t help but think about my grandmother.

My grandmother Ana was a very strong, resilient woman. She was tough but that is because she had gone though a lot of hardships in her life, she became a widow very young and was living by herself with my aunt who was non verbal and had down syndrome. Even at her age she would get down on her knees and clean those floor because one thing she hated more than feeling old was feeling lazy. I grew up with her, my mom had 2 jobs and would usually get home really late at night so after school I would go to my grandma’s house and stay there until my mom picked us up.

One day my mom decided to leave Peru and come to America to built a better life for us, so she left us in the care of my grandmother while she came to America to work. I stayed with her for 2 years before my mom came back and I moved to Miami with her; it was in those 2 years while living with her that she became my hero.

My grandmother loved to entertain at her house, she loved to have nice big meals and she loved to feed everyone that came through her doors even if you just came to say hi for 5 minutes you couldn’t leave her house without at least having tea and cookies. When the family got together you could see her at her best, she did not sit down until she made sure everyone had eaten. Now she couldn’t eat what she cooked, she had type 1 diabetes and she had a very strict diet. She took her diabetes very seriously, I remember helping her prepare her insulin and watch her do her thing. Even though she couldn’t eat her delicious food she never complained she was happy knowing other people were enjoying it.

My grandmother sadly passed away May 13th, 2013, but she left in me that passion for cooking and entertaining. Her culinary legacy lives in me. Being 13 years old and watching her cook and be in her element was incredible! the way she put ingredients together and looked after her food while she was cooking is something that at that time I didn’t understand or know that it would ever be important to me. Now, I wish I had payed more attention to the way she created dishes, I wish I could go back and take notes on the way she did things. I miss her, but I find comfort in knowing I will not let her passion for cooking and getting the family together fade.

My family often compares me to her, not only because of the way I cook but because of the way I am. My grandmother not only impacted me in my culinary journey she impacted my life, the way I see things and how certain things should be. It not only left me with a passion for cooking but for caring for others. I learned that I love my family get togethers, even though we can’t be together often. I didn’t know it growing up, but now if you ask me who my hero is and who I aspire to be I say it is my grandmother. I aspire to be as resilient, strong, and as caring as she was with kick ass food. Now, as I sat there with an empty pasta bowl and my cat still next to me I know what I have to do. While I didn’t have a lot inspiration or even the motivation to write or cook I do believe things happen for a reason. Although is just a tv show the topic inspired me again, because it reminded me why I love to do what I do and who I want to be. Inspiration can find you when you least expect it and when it does it is up tp you to do something with it.

Ana Lazo 05-13-2013

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