Tuesday, August 26, 2014

La Cocina de Christina : Memories of Abuela Teresa

Abuela Teresa, Christina's Great-grandmother, December 1966, Miami, Florida

My paternal great-grandmother, Abuela Teresa, was born in 1898 in Spain.  Growing up, that was the absolute coolest thing - knowing someone that was born in the 1800s.  She was barely 4'8" but had the character the size of a giant's.  The myths and legends about La Abuela Teresa were monumental.

She could always be found in one of two places - first place, the kitchen.  When someone would come to the house, you'd find her making Cuban coffee, right as the guest was walking up to the door.  She'd make croquetas with her hand-cranking meat grinder from leftovers, regardless of what the leftovers would be.  She'd have pimento cheese spread on-hand and all other sorts of goodies ready.  Just ready.

If she wasn't in the kitchen, she was knitting.  It was probably crochet that she was doing but I never know the difference between crochet, knitting and bordando.  She did that too, I'd say.  Scraps of fabrics, yarnballs all over her bed and her knitting needles, working away.

As I was getting ready to put together some old photos I've taken throughout this journey for The Project, I came across the photo at the top of this post.

So many thoughts come to mind when I see that photo above.  Maybe she was about to yell at one of us for running around the house like crazies.  Maybe she was showing off the pot before making some amazing potaje.  Maybe she was about to send someone to go fly a kite for taking a photo of her.

As her grandson, my Dad, always says, "Let us count the possibilities."



  1. Love hearing that story. It is amazing how many of our memories our tied to kitchen activities.

  2. Just saw you on The Today Show. Looking forward to exploring your Blog and making some of the recipes! :)

  3. Love your blog! Saw your segment on The Today Show and loved it!!! Reminded me of the foods my Mom made us growing up in New York. Both my parents were born in Cuba and I was born in NY. Regretfully, I did not raise my own kids on Cuban foods when they were growing up but in recent years started slowly cooking recipes that I could remember now that they are grown. I will definitely get this cookbook. I'm a little late but there's always hope for the future Grandchildren and continuing this rich cultural legacy.

  4. Saw you on the Today Show this morning and couldn't believe the very cookbook that I've been lugging around for decades was on TV! My mom & grandmothers all had it and it is a staple in any Cuban home. Of course, I've used it maybe once? Embarrassing yes, but you've inspired me to dig it out and give something new a try. I've got to venture past picadillo, arroz con pollo and bistec empanizado (although the whole family loves those!) Thanks for the motivation!