From the moment Ani and I started cooking together, we have been sharing stories of our childhood. We were both very fortunate enough to have grown up surrounded by strong, independent, caring, amazing women. We both had Abuelas that led by example. Abuelas that could make you feel loved without even saying a word.
We both were even luckier to have been able to learn our way around the kitchen by watching them, our Abuelas. My Abuela took care of me and all my cousins while our parents work. Some of my earliest memories involved my cousins and I sitting on the kitchen counter, and assembling croquetas. We each had a job. We all wanted to be the egg dipper, but I would take any job that she needed me to take. I just loved helping her.
Over the years, I would sit at that counter and watch her make meal after meal. She would tell me stories about Cuba, or the latest gossip of the day from the Church while she cooked up a steak (that was somehow always marinating in the refrigerator), some fries and a side of rice, of course. I was always amazed by her, because there was never a cookbook. It all just came straight from her mind. A complete natural. Asking her for a recipe was pointless. First, she wasn’t all that excited to give it to you, and second she truly was working off however she was feeling that day or had available.
Every Sunday, she would cook one big meal for the entire family. It doesn’t sound that impressive, but she had 9 kids, all married, and 25 grandchildren. She made a meal fo over 50 people every week. Even as she was fighting cancer. It was only in her passing that you could fully appreciate the work and sacrifice that went into it. None of us could bring ourselves to host it every week. It was backbreaking and expensive. It is something that could only be fueled by an Abuela’s love.
I still get teary eyed just thinking about it. How she used her love of food, to anchor together the family that she loved so much. It is the lesson I have taken to heart. There is nothing more important than family. There is nothing that gathers a family like a good home cooked meal.
When Ani and I started cooking together, it became clear that we both were raised by this philosophy. Ani also learned to cook surrounded by her Abuela, mom and tias. Some of our best memories come from eating, talking, and laughing with our families.
We wanted to create a space where we could teach people to do the same. We wanted to bring our Abuela’s counter to life. Bring Abuela’s counter to anyone who was looking for a place to learn. A place where there is no judgment. A place where you can discover the basics about cooking. A place you could get a recipe and begin to find your own cooking journey.
Welcome to Abuela’s Cuban Counter. Thank you for visiting and we hope you stick around.