BY RENE GARZONA
Sometimes the aroma of cumin and cilantro can overtake my senses and inspire me to create some incredible dishes in the kitchen. You see, I love food. People think I only eat tacos by my Facebook statuses. In fact, right now, I’m thinking of delicious pupusas, empanadas, pizza, duck, mole, arroz con pollo, lasagna, curries, arroz de coco and fried plantains. So in a nutshell, I love all food.
I’ve learned that in order for you to appreciate certain foods you have to taste them at least twice before you can dislike it or actually love it. I think Anthony Bourdain has the most incredible job a person can have. Think about it. This dude travels around the world and eats while it is all being televised. I would do this for free and Bourdain gets paid to do this.
I remember vividly the time that my mom began to teach me how to cook rice. It was a necessity for me to learn. Mi hermosa Madre (beautiful mom) had this amazing recipe, to this day it’s my favorite arroz (rice). I needed to learn the secret to this life changing arroz; as far as I know this recipe was created due to my brother and I not liking veggies. One day my mom got creative and grated a few zanahorias (carrots) into the rice. It was genius, it worked. We ate the veggies while they were secretly implanted in my rice. My taste buds began to adapt and before you knew it I could not eat rice without the carrots.
Now I’m older and love eating lots of veggies, but most of all I love cooking food. To me, it’s crazy to think about how incredible God is. I mean, he straight up gave us taste buds. Do you ever think about them? You probably don’t. I know I didn't. I began to do some research and learned that the average person has about 10,000 taste buds and they're replaced every 2 weeks or so. But when we get older, some of those taste cells don't get replaced. Now, for those of us who are blessed to still have our Abuelos y Abuelas (grandfathers and grandmothers) alive, they actually may only have 5,000 working taste buds. That's why certain foods may taste stronger to you than they do to adults. By the way, smoking also can reduce the number of taste buds a person has. I’m not down for that.
But make sure that before you give taste buds all the credito for your favorite ﬂavors– be thankful for your nose. Olfactory (say: ahl-fak-tuh-ree) yeah, it took me a minute to get that word. The receptors inside the uppermost part of the nose contain special cells that help you smell. They send messages to the brain. What a trip, huh?
This is how everything works: While you're chewing, the food releases chemicals that immediately travel up into your nose. Those chemicals trigger the olfactory receptors inside the nose. They work together with your taste buds to create the true ﬂavor of that delicious food by telling the brain all about it! Now this is a work of art. Yes, food is art.
Next time you’re cooking make sure to enjoy the little things and appreciate the art in cooking. Smell, taste, and see all your ingredients. I’m so thankful for my taste buds; without these I wouldn't enjoy much food.
And now I'd like to share "Mama Garzona's Rice Recipe":
2 cups of Jasmine rice (make sure to rinse it ﬁrst, yes I’m not kidding)
1/4 chopped onion
2 teaspoons of coconut oil
4 cups of water
2 carrots (grated)
2 spoons of Knorr chicken bouillon (Yes it HAS to be this brand)
In a frying pan sauté the onion in the coconut oil at a medium heat. Once the onions begin to brown, place the rice in the pan and let it start toasting the rice for 120 seconds (Make sure to keep stirring).
After the 120 seconds are done, place the 4 cups of water in the pan. Add the grated carrots into the rice and add the chicken bouillon as well. Cover your pan with a lid and lower the ﬁre just a bit less than medium. Let it cook for about 20 minutes or until water is gone.
I personally do not like my rice dry so I will turn off the ﬁre once the water is almost gone and let it keep cooking with its own steam.
Once done, enjoy and Buen Provecho!
So next time you hit the kitchen and enjoy a delicious meal, thank God. For he alone gave you the ability to taste, smell and see some amazing meals. To Christ be the glory. We truly have a creative God that loves us enough to give us taste buds.