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As a child I would look forward to cooking with my grandmother, whom I fondly called Mami, and saw how she put a hint of love into everything she made. Preserving Mami’s recipes has always been my greatest wish, to pass down to my own granddaughters, what she taught me.  

The dishes were simple but held the history of our land. Mami would fondly share memories of her homeland of Danli, and her journey through Santa Lucia when she was a child. Eventually her travels took her to the beautiful port of Tela, where she lived for the rest of her life.

Mami taught me about the diversity of our cuisine, such as the rich dishes with a Lenca-Maya, Garifuna touch and the presence of Palestinian and Chinese fusion. And with everything she cooked, she also added her own personal touch.

Ingredients for these dishes were grown locally, it was not necessary to go to a store to buy anything. It was common to see people use natural spices from their gardens, farm their own proteins and obtain natural juices from fruits and vegetables.

There were several moments, such as these, that I loved to participate in with Mami, such as coffee roasting. It turned into a family event, where the neighbors were welcome as well. The smell of roasted coffee still lingers in my memories. Mami would roast the coffee beans, I would help grind them. We would use the same process to toast Cacao to make chocolate or pilon for the other children in our neighborhood.

When we would cook together, she would tell me that food must create memories. That the things we create with love creates links that cross cultures. The cuisine we create is exquisite, and that we must treasure these customs and pass them on to future generations.

With the culture of fast food growing, and although a lot of the food is delicious, I believe it will never compare to homemade food that is made with love. Recipes that can withstand the test of time and carry with it the memories and passion of the generations that came before it.

Rosa  Tamajon

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