My brother, probably the best cook among the three offspring of that marvelous cook Ofelia Islas Chihak, used to tell a joke about going into a café by the name of "Mom's Home Cooking." Where, he cleverly asked the waitress, is Mom? Without pause, she met the smart-ass question with a smart-ass response: "Just where the sign says: She's home cooking."
That's where and how I remember my mom the most: home cooking. A young, beautiful, vibrant version of my mom dominated my dream the other night. She died five years ago next month, and yet I think about her every day.
Most especially, I think about her when I am cooking. My mom taught me, my brother and my sister to cook, partly by osmosis, partly by direct instruction. She cooked as part of her housewife duties, but underneath, one could see joy in the creativity, passion in the preparation, satisfaction in the outcome.
My passion for cooking came from her. It is to honor her and her passionate gift to me that I dedicate my venture to culinary school.