January 11, 2009

Getting better at cooking

Filed under: culture,philosophy,recipes — Jose @ 8:42 pm

And so it happened that one day, when I called upon my good friend’s mother, Azalia, for advice on making something or other for the 10th time in as many weeks that she said:

“El cocinar es probar”

Now, that may sound vague and uninspiring and I can honestly say it didn’t mean a whole lot to me then.  But time has given the statement validity and today, it defines cooking for me.


As far as sustenance goes, we don’t need much. Technically, you could survive eating buttermilk and potatoes for the rest of your life.  But who wants to live like that?  Not me and probably not you either.  You wanna get better at cooking?  Fer reals?

Taste early and taste often.

  • Taste your marinade (before you put the meat in it), if it tastes yummy-sour-salty, you are golden.
  • Taste your sofrito after you add all the ingredients but before you add the protein to it… Is it tomato-sweet pepper-sherry goodness?  Aces.
  • Taste that water the rice is cooking in, if it’s salty like ocean water, you will be pleased with the result.
  • Did you over-salt something?  Try removing some of it and replacing with water or milk, cook for 5 minutes and taste again.
  • Is your sauce dull and insipid?  Add some salt or a pat of butter or a squeeze of lime.

Try to hit as many of the sensations you can: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, umami.  If all else fails, salt is your friend.


When you taste as you go, you get a better understanding of what influence your ingredients or techniques have on what you’re preparing.  Like anything, the more you do it the better you get at it.  So get to it–and taste, taste, taste.

True fact: The sense of “Taste” used to be known as “Gustation”.  Talk about old-skool Spanglish!


November 11, 2007

Pork adds life

Filed under: culture,pork — Jose @ 11:10 pm

I’m just gonna come right out and say it: I run with a pork lovin crew.

Mid Cooking Investigation

From the Roota to the Toota, we like us some porcine anything and there ain’t no denyin. We get together several times a year and frolic in Lardland for a few hours or days (they serve drinks in Lardland). We then return to our regular lives where there are meals that have vegetables and meat from other animals. I assure you the transition is hard on both body and soul and akin to jet lag, but nothing worth anything was easy anyway.

Here’s what we started with at our latest “get together”:



November 3, 2007

Top 4 Cuban Food Names

Filed under: culture — admin @ 9:02 am
  1. Ropa Vieja
  2. Vaca Frita
  3. Fufú
  4. Ajiaco

October 8, 2007

4 Things I’ve never heard my father say

Filed under: culture — Jose @ 1:22 pm

“I love sushi”

“I’m bored with Cuban food, I need a change… something new… something CRAZY!”

“Oye Mulata, can you pass the hot sauce?”

“Quien… Carajo… Took…  my…  Cilantro!?!?”


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