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Someone suggested that I give cooking lessons. When my girls were in 4-H, I was one of the leaders of the cooking project. That was fun, my co-leader was also the Poultry Project Leader, so we did a lot of poultry. But, I think if you are reading this blog, you already know how to cook and certainly don’t need me to teach you. If you don’t know how, I suggest you learn like Husband did, get a cookbook like James Beard or Julia Child’s and follow the lessons, mastering them one at a time. Or take some classes, it’s a valuable skill. I don’t remember learning how to cook, so I probably learned watching my mom cook, my mom is an outstanding cook. My mom learned from cookbooks, my grandmother didn’t think it was an important skill since she fully expected my mother to have a cook and housekeeper or two. I don’t know where my Abuela learned because she was a pretty good cook too.
This brings us back to home cooking, my idea of homecooking is probably different from yours. One of my favorite childhood treats was tostones, deep fried green banana chips. I once told Husband that one of the perks of living in Mexico is that I finally got enough fried bananas. If you follow the link you can find a lovely recipe for making your own, plus the photo is perfect! Yucatecans fry plaintains (platanos machos) too, but they fry them ripe, and serve a few alongside rice. La Muchacha told me that you can take overripe machos, mash them up, add a little corn starch for body and fry them up, which I will be doing today at lunch, since the ones that I bought went from green to ugly black while I was not looking.
One of my friends, gave me a recipe for homemade hamburger helper, I didn’t see the sense in it and so I have lost it. I rarely bought something like hamburger helper because it didn’t seem to save any money or time over a casserole from scratch. But, hamburger helper is not one of my comfort foods, and sometimes comfort foods is what it’s all about.
Sometimes, Yucatecans ask me, what do Americans eat? I have to answer, I don’t really know. Lasagna, pizza, apple pie and dim sum?
From the time I was 8 until I was almost 18, I lived in San Lorenzo, California, a bedroom community for San Francisco, and most of my friends were 1st generation Americans on one or both sides of their families. We used to have PTA International suppers to raise money for the school and families would bring a dish. The people organizing it would call everyone with a foreign last name and request a dish, my mom was always asked to bring something Mexican, I think she brought something Cuban a few times (probably Arroz con Pollo), but it kept getting being labeled as a Mexican dish, so rather than explain that we were Cuban, she learned to make Tamale Pie, it was just easier. Nowadays, I’m sure there would have been all sorts of cultural diversity issues raised, but in those days we all wanted to be Americans, speak English and assimilate.
The whole point of this post is that, only time will tell, where this blog will go, maybe it will include recipes for homemade Hamburger Helper later on the line, I don’t know. No one has asked me any questions or made comments that cause me to think that, but only time will tell.

About Theresa Diaz Gray

Born in New York City, I grew up in California, and have lived in 3 countries and 6 states. I'm a first generation Cuban-American who lives in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. I'm committed to living an abundant and creative life and helping others do so too through DIY!


  1. Oh that is clever, planatic! One thing about living here is that I finally got enough of platanos machos.
    Now, I have a reason to go to Gran Plaza besides the movie theatre. I make tostones, but the crunchy kind are hard to get just right.
    Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Still ambling about on your blog! You might be interested to know that there is a new place to eat in the fast food area of the Gran Plaza mall, featuring cuban food. I only mention this because I detect a certain predilection for bananas, and this place offers two kinds, the crunchy ‘chip’ kind and the fried n sliced machos. Probably not a newsworthy item for someone obviously talented in the platanic (cool word huh) arts, but anyway, there it is. Cheers

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