When one night while cooking I thought that I would pay the $40,000 of cooking school just to create better dishes for my family I knew I was into something real, more than a hobby or a cool trend to follow. I didn’t end up paying the money because I didn’t go to cooking school. Being a mom of a brain injured little girl I knew I could never afford the time nor the money to pursue something like this. But being a mom of a brain injured little girl was the best cooking school I could ever have.
Since she was just a baby I took charge of all the food that goes into her tummy. So I had to learn the good, the bad and the ugly about cooking and nutrition. What began as a chore eventually evolved as a deep passion in my soul.
It’s amusing how all the dots connect now because since I was a little girl myself I remember being intrigued about cooking as a way to express creativity. I made my first dinner when I was eleven, spaghetti with chocolate (yes, chocolate) meat sauce, and was very specific about the way my family was supposed to serve it on their plates - noodles with a scoop of sauce on top served at the very last moment so your mouth could enjoy the dancing contrast between the acidity and earthiness of the sauce with the butteriness and creaminess of the pasta. I’m a contrast kind of girl, or so I heard!
Having been born and raised in Puerto Rico, whose culinary influence is a contrast itself between Spanish, African and American food, I have memories of amazing foods that I know I will not find in any other place. Thus, when the kitchen called out of necessity rather than pleasure, this utter fascination about recreating those amazing flavors and bringing them to my table within a practical and healthy lifestyle began. Our way of life.
For the last 2 years and a half I've been having the opportunity of sharing them through Metro Puerto Rico newspaper as a cooking columnist. And now I am pleased to start sharing them with all of you. I hope you enjoy it!
About this Blog
Pizca de Gourmet is my oasis for enjoying little bits of pleasure through everyday life. “Pizca” means pinch, so it's not about trying to pursue a perfect moment or a perfect meal all times, but rather make the most out of everyday’s routine by putting in those little things that make us smile and dream, ending up with simple but extraordinary moments to cherish. It’s about mixing and matching cool things between the realities of my life.
It’s also about spontaneity; in this real life of mine it has become a good friend during this journey. That’s why most of the pictures are taken with a regular camera but some are taken with my iPhone, especially the pictures of "My favorite places in Puerto Rico" in the Pizcas section. I’m not a photographer nor did I study art or anything close to that. I would have loved to, though! But it's has been a learning experience for me, and I'm still embracing it. I'm just a cook using pictures and stories to share my food. I challenge my creativity with the finished recipe shots and some of the ingredients shots, but probably the procedures shots are just that, shots to show textures, order or positions so you can create a mental picture of what to expect while doing the recipe. Because above all, this blog is about the food and the amazing creations you can achieve with it. The goal is for you to make a recipe once and then make it again without the recipe, so you make it your own.
About The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential
When we were looking for alternatives to treat our daughter, most of the traditional methods were not making sense to us, especially because we were not seeing sustainable progress, a progress that could project real and permanent improvement in the future. As the way exceptional things work, a lot of dots were put on our way to find The Institutes.
The approach of this place, which has more than 60 years working with brain injured people, is to treat the brain itself and not the symptoms a brain injury may present. After all, is the brain what suffered the damage. This made complete sense to us, and when applied to our daughter the results were beyond our (and some doctors out there) expectations.
We were told to “put her aside” by some doctors and that she wouldn’t past her second year. And from being a girl who didn’t eat, drink, sleep, had more than 30 seizures per day, a blood transfusion because of an iron deficiency and, most disturbingly for a parent, completely disconnected from her world around her, she is now 11, eating (a lot), drinking (not so much!), seizures and anti-convulsant medication free and, most importantly, a tween that is enjoying all the insanely large amounts of love around her and interacts with her environment in different ways.
Brain damage and neurological disorders come in every size and shape, from a profound coma to a slight level of autism or learning problem in a visually completely well kid. I encourage anyone that has or knows a kid with some sort of neurological challenges to explore the possibilities of The Institutes. Is a very strong program, physically and mentally. But it's also an amazing journey and worth every minute of it. It was a blessing for us. Such as Mariana is a blessing for our lives!!