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About Celia “WITA”

Celia’s creative and economic approach toward cooking developed out of necessity in feeding a hard-working husband, a brood of seven children, along with neighborhood kids and visiting relatives.  Although her budget was always limited, through imagination and love of cooking, Celia provided nutritious and delicious meals each and every day for her family and still does to this day (just ask any of her grown children, grandchildren, and sons-in-law).

Celia learned the fundamentals of excellent cooking as a child while growing up with relatives in Durango and Torreon, Mexico where she learned that good, wholesome cooking starts with fresh, quality ingredients.  On her aunt’s farm in Torreon, there were chores with cows, pigs and chickens.  By the time she was 10 years old, she was preparing meals of rice, beans and home-made flour tortillas for the family.

On her uncle’s ranch in Durango, she planted corn, beans, and chiles.  The corn when harvested and dried, shucked and then taken to the mill so that it could be processed into the dough of “masa” for their home-made corn tortillas.  And in the desert sierras of Gamon, she cut edible wild cactus (known as nopal) to be used for salads and cooked in sauces.  She learned to pluck the sweet and succulent blossoms from the cactus for a delicious snack.

My siblings and I (seven of us) grew up in California amid the wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen as our mother (Celia) cooked her vegetable and meat soups, rice, pots of beans, tortillas, and many other wonderful, nutritious dishes.  She prided herself on serving her family wholesome and delicious meals whether she was working at home or whether she had to work outside of the home to make ends meet (fast foods or processed foods were options she never considered).

My nephews and nieces (eleven of them) have also grown up on their abuelita’s (“Wita” as they affectionately call her) fine cooking.  Over the years as her grandchildren have matured into responsible, loving young adults, I recognized the need to preserve the wonderful memories of their Wita’s cooking by providing them with her recipes in a format they could easily understand and appreciate, and maybe they will continue with old traditions and begin new ones of their own. 

Cooking with my mother as we share ideas on old and new recipes is one of the most enjoyable ways we spend time together.  I enjoy learning about family history while she teaches me many of her cooking secrets and techniques, and she enjoys sharing stories of “the old country,” her youth, and the old tradition of cooking.  I encourage you to spend time, especially with elder relatives, in listening to their stories while cooking together and maybe you will also be privy to old family cooking secrets.     

From our family to yours,

¡Buen provecho!

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