Herencia Cookbook: Honoring SalviMex Matriarchs
Waddup fam? It’s your girl, Bernadette, author of Herencia Cookbook, full of authentic SalviMex recipes with a modern twist. Herencia Cookbook honors the matriarchs that fed and nurtured me. This book honors my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother-in-law (suegra), and most of all my beloved mother. Herencia Cookbook honors Latin matriarchs and culture through recipes and memories. Each recipe is preluded by an anecdote about the matriarch who influenced my life and the recipe in some way. This is a celebration of the herencia that the matriarchs of my life have given me.
I had the privilege of knowing my great grandmother, my Nana Lupita, until I was ten years old. She lived in Sonora, Mexico. My family and I visited often as we knew time with her was a blessing. During our visits, I could not get enough of her. I followed her all around the kitchen, taking in everything: her purple, knitted shawl, the blue cookware she used, the garlic she cooked with, and the sweetness in her voice. I am proud to say the tamal recipe in Herencia Cookbook is inspired by my great-grandmother’s recipe.
My Nana Isabel is my great grandmother’s daughter. She is my grandmother. Nana Isabel showered all her grandchildren with love and affection. She often showed us affection by putting so much love into her cooking. In high school, I would often walk from school to her house and spend time with her. We would chitchat, laugh, and eat together. Once I became a senior in high school and had a larger workload, my visits became less frequent. I didn’t think much of it at the time, because I thought she would be around a very long time, like my great-grandmother. Unfortunately, my Nana Isabel passed away one month before I turned 18.
Now, I am thirty. I still think about my Nana Isabel almost every day. I learned so much about how to be a matriarch from my Nana. By watching her, I learned that a matriarch must always have food ready to offer her guests, that food is a fantastic way to show affection to loved ones, and that it is possible to be strong and nurturing at the same time. Some of my favorite recipes in Herencia Cookbook are inspired by her and dedicated to her.
The matriarch who influenced me the most is, of course, my dear mother. My mother Rose is Salvadorian-American. She came to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of entrepreneurship, in the pastry business. Do you want to know what a badass my mother is? After working in the pastry business for a few years, my mamacita helped a friend/colleague launch a business. As a matter of fact, my mom helped her friend kick off her business…while she was pregnant with me!! My mom told her friend, “for 9 months, I’m yours. Let’s do this.”
Similarly, I wrote and produced Herencia Cookbook while pregnant with my firstborn child.
Baking is my mother’s passion and her gift. And let me tell you, I learned everything that I know about cooking from her. My mother is the person who is responsible for the influence of SalviMex fusion in my life! My father’s Mexican culture influenced my mother’s Salvadorian cooking style and so many dishes in our home embodied that SalviMex fusion. In Herencia Cookbook, so many dishes contain that fusion as well because of my own cooking style.
My Sweet Suegrita
My suegra is the type of woman who understands the value of showing love through food. She has taught me so many valuable lessons both in and out of the kitchen. She and my mother helped me develop the recipes and even style the food for the beautiful photos in Herencia Cookbook.
Herencia Cookbook honors the matriarchs in my life who influenced me. When you read about the women who nourished and nurtured me, I hope you think fondly about the women who influenced you.
Celebrating SalviMex Culture
Herencia Cookbook is at times humorous and at other times nostalgic. It is lighthearted because it is a celebration of Latin culture. When you read this book, I want you to feel like you are a guest in my home. It is a deeply personal book because cooking is personal and breaking bread with others is quite intimate. I hope to elevate our culture with positive representation and show the world the beauty of Latin culture.
Modern Kitchen Hacks
This project developed as a passion to create a cookbook to honor our raza, our matriarchs, and our culture through food. My goal is to take the intimidation out of cooking these authentic recipes; and, to help them to fit into our modern lifestyles. Why use a molcajete when I have a blender? Why chop things by hand when I have a food processor? It is very possible to enjoy the foods of our culture in a nutritious and easy way. There is no shame in taking a few shortcuts! As long as the food is made with love and tastes good, what more could you ask for? In fact, I find it empowering to cook a recipe that goes back so many generations and make it my own by adding my own modern twist to it!
Herencia Cookbook has always been more than just a cookbook
I hope you understand that Herencia Cookbook is so much more than a cookbook. It is an homage to Latinas who have inspired me. It is an homage to our resourcefulness. We are scrappy hustlers in the kitchen, as home cooks who always know how to whip up an amazing meal. Plus, we are multitasking matriarchs who know how to balance home life, personal life, and careers. Somos chingonas, cachimbonas, and badasses who can do anything we set our minds to.
I invite you to join me on this journey through Herencia Cookbook. Let’s honor our raza, our cultura and our mujeres through food! Are you interested in learning more? Then be sure to check out our blog and our book for authentic SalviMex recipes with a modern (and sometimes healthy) twist. Until next time, Buen Provecho!
Herencia Cookbook is currently available for sale on Amazon.