(not to be confused with "holla!")
I know, everyone’s mom’s food is the best, but I’m one tough cookie when it comes to judging Mexican cuisine, and I’m confident in saying that my mom could totally beat up your mom… in the kitchen, with some oregano… and peppers, and maybe throw in some tomatoes. I could keep going, but it’ll get way too messy. I don’t know much about genetics and if something like being a good cook can be inherited. Although, I am pretty certain that somewhere in my DNA, there’s a chromosome that has a little red pepper next to it, because I can cook the hell out some Mexican food.
When I was 15 years old, my parents opened their first Mexican restaurant. After soccer practice, I’d take my sweaty, grass-stained self to the restaurant and hang around with my mom because she was the coolest person I knew. I don’t think the feeling was mutual. In an attempt to entertain myself, I started to help her around the kitchen (Please note that I took sanitary precautions and made sure that I wasn’t in my gross soccer clothes). I started to pick up on some of her recipes, and soon enough she allowed me to cook some orders. After seeing that I was able to do what none of the other employees could, duplicate her recipes, my mom let me take over the cooking and would allow herself to take a break. I don’t cook in a restaurant anymore. Now, I cook for my friends and loved ones; it’s one of the things I enjoy doing the most.
I’m a strong believer in keeping Mexican cuisine authentic. However, I wanted to make my mom’s recipes my own, by either giving them a twist or enhancing them with spices she may have not been familiar with, while never compromising authentic Mexican flavors. Mexican food can either be extremely easy to make or can be a labor of love. You sometimes have to work with few ingredients and figure out a way to bring out the best in them. Sometimes you’re given a laundry list of spices and it’s up to you to make them work together perfectly. It takes time and practice to cook Mexican food the way it should be.
I take a lot of pride in my cooking, and I want to be able to share it with people. One day I hope to open a restaurant of my own. That dream seems a bit far for me right now. In the meantime, I’m happy sharing my recipes, cooking tips, and when I don’t feel like cooking my own Mexican food and I venture out into NYC, I’ll share my reviews on the restaurants I love and mouth-off about the ones I hate.
It’s about to get real official up in here. My name is Maria Palafox and I live in Brooklyn, NY. I was born in Mexico, but raised in the US. I speak Spanish fluently and can dance the hell out of some “corridos” (google it).