As I've been trying to recreate some favorite Cuban restaurant dishes at home, I've stumbled across a true gem. La Cocina de Nathan is AWESOME!! Covering not only Cuban cuisine, but Mexican and Spanish as well, it's a treasure trove of fabulous Latin American cooking lore. First of all, Nathan enthusiastically shares his recipes for favorite every day foods, including such basics as yellow rice and black beans. Which may seem as unnecessary to experienced Latin American cooks as writing about scrambled eggs might seem to others. But for those of us who enjoy learning how people really cook the everyday staples of their tables at home, finding a blog like Nathan's is a real treat! Want to know how to make flour tortillas? Nathan shows you how his mom does it.
Nathan's blog is also wonderful because it is illustrated liberally with photos depicting each stage of the recipe-- helpful beyond words! I'd love to do this too, but this would mean actually learning how to operate my digital camera!
I enjoy browsing Nathan's blog most of all because he doesn's shy away from unapologetically sharing even the humblest of dishes, such as Patas de Puerco Cocidas (boiled pig's feet). When I saw this recipe, I instantly remembered how my dad loved to eat pickled pigs feet, and how mortified I was that he did this! These recipes remind us of times when all parts of the animal were used and nothing was wasted. Today, food comes to us so neatly and conveniently that we hardly remember where it came from. We don't even need to concern ourselves with such elementary tasks as boning a chicken breast, let alone butchering and plucking an actual chicken!
I sometimes marvel at how the practical need to economically use up whatever leftovers are in the house results in some of the most delicious foods ever. For example, French Onion Soup is one of my DS's favorite foods. Although now we may think of this as "fancy" food, it's easy to imagine some long-ago French housewife trying to find a use for a few onions, some stale bread, and some nubbins of leftover cheese. I think of these dishes as "the cuisine of necessity."
Sharing cherished family recipes as well as "the classics" of Latin American cuisine, Nathan's blog is fantastic! Check it out.