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Home » food

Real Women Can Cook

Submitted by on March 28, 2011 – 4:25 am14 Comments
housewife, cooking

A Real Housewife?


My husband taught me how to cook.

Not my mami, not my abuela, not my tias.

My husband.

I was 28.

A little shocking, right?

I’m Cuban-American I’m supposed to know how to cook — like, from the womb.

But, cooking was more function than art in my immediate family.

There were women — neighbors, friends, tias — who cooked and cooked extremely well, but my everyday gente were more perfunctory about the whole thing.

My grandmother did let me peel garlic and slice cucumbers and, you know, I have really fond memories of that, of being allowed in her kitchen.

My mom worked full-time, so our dinner was de cantina, and most often waiting for us in boxes and tins on the porch when we got home in the evenings. The food wasn’t bad at all, it just didn’t offer up the chances to watch a kitchen in full use y con gusto.

To say I am grateful to my husband for teaching me to create healthy and memorable meals is an understatement. When my 7-year-old says I make the best cakes, or flan (she doesn’t compliment any main dish), I get all happy happy joy joy. I wonder if she’ll remember our moments in the kitchen, if she will have no fear en la cocina?

So, here is where I am going with this: I realized a couple of weeks ago while watching The Real Housewives of Miami that I am kinda shocked by women who abhor the kitchen, or women (and yes, men, too) who are afraid to at least try to cook. Funny how you constantly learn stuff about yourself.

One Real Housewife said hosting a cooking party was the first time she ever used her kitchen. Did she just move in?

Another se freak-eo when she saw a dead lechon. Seriously? You’re Cuban from Miami. So, really? (And hola, where does meat come from Yes! Former animals!) It was so silly, I was embarrassed.

I keep waiting for the cameras to show the women doing anything house-wifey. Anything, por favor!

I’m not a fan of being judgmental. Really, I am not and I work hard to shake it away when it creeps up. But, as I continue to watch this TV show (one that seriously is depleting my brain cells, but one I cannot seem to shut off) it has made me think about just how strongly I believe in providing la comida buena to my family and friends. About how much I respect and love friends — male and female — who make great meals, savor the new, and set their tables for us, whether casual or fancy. How much I admire people who are competent in the home arts.

There should be no shoulds, right? What works for me, doesn’t work for everyone. You don’t like what you don’t like. (And I am, for sure, the one in the wrong for assuming fellow cubanitas would finally add some substance to this train-wreck TV series.) But, providing nourishment and being Real is worth striving for, no? Especially, when cooking does not have to be complicated to be good (and you have nannies who can do the damned shopping for you.)

I am a Housewife. A Real One. Most days, I look like a truck ran me over and I am always behind on some sort of household chore — whether it be laundry, mopping or getting more milk. (Yes, because I do too much tiki tiki for my own good…) Pero cohopio, 9 times out of 10, my family sits at the table together to share something either my husband or I have prepared … con amor y con gusto.

That’s my kind of Real.

Easy Latin Recipes for the Non-Cook

If you don’t cook, but would like to learn, please explore the awesome recipes we’ve collected during our nearly two years of Tiki Tiki. There’s nothing in there you can’t handle and much Latin American food to love and enjoy.

Be sure to check these out, especially.

Latin Slow-Cooker Recipes

Mexican Albondigas (Meatballs)

Camarones Enchilados (Cuban Shrimp Creole)

Marta’s Salsa Fresca and Guacamole

And, if I can learn to cook, mi’ja, so can you.



Share, por favor!


  • Tracy says:

    I still make your Papi’s Camarones Enchilados every couple weeks. Love it.

    Haven’t watched the Real Housewives of Miami so can’t comment on that, but I think everyone (men and women), should know how to cook at least a few dishes.

  • Beautifully said! Setting a positive example & foundation is what being a “real” housewife is all about. At least what I think it should be. I learned to cook when my dad passed away 7 yrs ago. He was/is my teacher. I thought I could never live up to his culinary gift so in my grief I found comfort in pouring myself into his gift, his kitchen. Today I connect with him in cooking, & find pleasure, joy, and pride in doing what he LOVED to do. Cook, entertain, and share it all with those he loved….la familia y las amistades! :)

    Thanks for sharing!

    From another “Real” Housewife :)

    P.S. Maybe we should teach these “housewives” what it is to be “real” all around! :)

  • Silvia says:

    I learned how to cook at 12 years old. I have fond memories of sharing the kitchen with my mom and grandmother and I’m already sharing my kitchen with my kids as well :)

    I haven’t watched the Real Housewives of Miami, so I cannot comment on that, but I would like to watch it some day, when? and at what time?

    Silvia´s last [fabulousness] ..Sorteo – bareMinerals skincare – Giveaway

  • Tia Mirtha says:

    Mi sobrina, I am 65 years old and I don’t know how to cook. I don’t like to cook. Gracias a Dios que los dos maridos que tuve sabian cocinar. Ellos cocinaban, yo comia y labava los platos. I am so happy that you know how. So does Vickie… not me.. I am too old to start learning.

    On the Real Housewife of Miami, one of the wife called una “arrozera” un Crockpot.. POr lo menos yo se la diferencia. LOL.
    Mama, used to cook real good, but she never taught us to do it. At least, not me.

  • Yoly says:

    My mother didn’t cook, her specialty was cleaning. The one who did was my father. When I was 8, my dad taught me how to make Cafe Cubano & Fried eggs while my mom was out. Much to my mom’s dismay. Oh that fight was epic.
    My memories are of setting up the tv dinner tray tables (because we only used the dining room table when company came over or Holidays) to watch whatever novela was on SIN (pre-Univision era).
    Now I have a daughter, she’s made her own sandwiches since she was 4. I allow her to help me when I bake. And 2 years ago, she made one of the Thanksgiving dishes: green bean casserole.
    One day she will leave my side and have to fend for herself.

    • Carrie says:

      Yoly, I can totally hear the yelling over whether la nina would have gotten burned, si?

      I have memories of TV trays and TV dinners too. We did eat at the table, but we ate a lot of TV dinners in the ’70s!

      I always tell my daughter that I am raising her to be an adult, and that is why we teach her all we do…Estoy contigo!

  • I haven’t watched the show and I’m in Miami! I agree…sitting down, talking, face to face…How was your day is real and will be moments that matter.
    Regarding the cooking, I love that your husband taught you! I used to cook gourmet food, but now prefer to eat a nice meal at a restaurant or cook simple foods at home. I suppose if I had time, I would. Lately, I have been making some awesome sandwiches…bacon, melted cheese, croissants…
    Blanca Stella´s last [fabulousness] ..Feromonas Del Amor En Una Botella

    • Carrie says:

      Blanca, I can’t believe you haven’t seen it! You are a better woman than I!

      We go for simple tambien and I have a total love of good, fun, interesting sandwiches, too! There are some great combos in Joy of Cooking if you haven’t seen those.

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