By now you may have read an update or seen a photo, of how I spent my Saturday February 19. I cooked with Daisy Martinez! Let’s start at the beginning. In the middle of January, January 15 to be exact, I woke up to find Daisy had written on her wall and tagged me along with two other unsuspecting foodies.
Mimi, Rachel, and Ofelia : I’m considering hosting a #Sabroso Saturday Cooking Lesson in my Kitchen for you girls to photograph and blog. Is this something you would be interested in? If you are, please email me and send a couple of date (in the next 6 weeks, Saturday of course) and maybe we can set something up…
I was confused. I thought this was some giant oopsie. I blinked, cleaned my glasses, called my daughter Lesli to read the screen. Yes it was really there. Mimi, Rachel and I had not expected this. Who would imagine being invited by a chef, cookbook author, television star, for a cooking lesson at her home? We asked ourselves, asked each other … why did she choose us? I imagine Mimi and Rachel (like me) debated over how to dress, how to do our hair, you know .. girly things. It’s no exaggeration that I was overwhelmed by such a generous offer from Daisy.
The weeks passed quickly but not quickly enough to calm my nerves. Just after Valentine’s Day, we were given some instructions – bring an apron, a chef knife and a paring knife. Then there was The Menu: Old School Stuffed Mussels, Sweet Plantain Stuffed Chicken Breast, Caraway Scented Sauteed Cabbage, Banana-Pecan Streudel with Dulce de Leche. To be completely truthful, Daisy gave us a choice of two desserts. I was still flustered about the invitation, so it was a good thing when Mimi and Rachel chose the Streudel.
Friday afternoon felt like the day before the first day of school. I walked for hours trying to steady myself, or wear myself out, to get a good night’s sleep. I stopped at a local restaurant and finally said it out loud to someone. This is the conversation we had.
(me, quietly) Tomorrow I’m going to Daisy Martinez’s house.
(him, normal voice with eyebrow raised) Daisy who?
(me, normal voice and still sorting it out) Daisy Martinez, the chef.
(him, slightly awed) You mean the beautiful Latina? Wow.
Wow, indeed. I look forward to sharing with all of you, just how lovely she is in person. TV does not do justice to her personality, sense of humor and spirit.
Saturday morning came, I made the journey with apron and knives. Rachel and I met up a few blocks away, walked to Daisy’s house and rang the doorbell. Daisy opened the door, greeted us with a warm smile and immediately asked us to relax. “Come in, for the next few hours just imagine you’re at your títi’s house”. I wanted to respond, my títi never shared her secrets. But this was no time for argument. We followed Daisy into her kitchen, where she had sparkling water and warm coffee waiting for us, before we got down to business. Sometime during the day, Daisy’s assistant Carolina joined us. She chopped and diced with us, laughed with us, and also made us feel welcome.
I’m still processing all the moments of wisdom, encouragement and support as Daisy guided us past the doubts of “is this the right way?” For right now I’ll share one of my favorite photos, taken by photographer Joseph Anthony of the Everyday People Project.
Later this week I will share more of the experience, including recipes and photos of the dishes we prepared. If you just can’t wait, check out Daisy’s website (including event listings), her page on Facebook, and her videos on youtube, or her tweets on Twitter.