Muy Bueno is Spanish for very good. My grandma would always invite family and friends to her table with the same words: “Siéntate a comer, esta muy bueno” (Sit down and eat, it’s very good). And she lingered on the “muuuuy bueno” with a smile, raised eyebrows, and a twinkle in her eyes as if to let her guests know they were in for a treat. Those two words—and the memory of grandma and her legendary meals—never fail to bring a smile to my face.
I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and learned to cook from my mother, Vangie and grandma, Jesusita. Although I knew how to cook, I actually didn’t like to. It was not a passion of mine like it is today. It was until my grandma passed away in 2004 at the age of 98 years old that I had an “aha moment.” I realized that if I didn’t cook the recipes I grew up enjoying and celebrating the traditional Mexican holidays of my culture, my children would not appreciate where they came from.
My daughter helps me in the kitchen when I cook, and she loves hearing stories of my childhood. One day as we were eating dinner, she asked me if I plan to have all our recipes written down for her so that she can make them after she leaves for college. She was only 8 years old when she said this. I turned to my mother and said, “Mom, let’s write a cookbook!” And that’s how it all started.
I created MuyBuenoCookbook.com to document the journey of writing a cookbook and it evolved into a place where I celebrate my culture, my grandma, and my mother, by preserving the generations of traditions en la cocina. My mother Vangie and sister Veronica co-wrote the cookbook with me, which was a great opportunity to share our heartwarming family stories and flavorful Mexican recipes.
Initially we were going to self-publish the cookbook as a keepsake for our own children. But once the blog gained a following, we were inspired to share our book with the world. Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor offers traditional old-world northern Mexican recipes from my grandma; comforting south of the border home-style dishes from my mom; and innovative Latin fusion recipes from my sister and myself. You can watch a trailer for the book here.
Publishing the cookbook inspired me to continue developing modern, easy to prepare, Latin-inspired recipes with my own special twist. And now, I will be sharing these recipes here on eHow’s food blog, offering you the chance to share in my culture and passion for cooking. I hope you take pleasure in making my recipes as much as I delight in sharing them. As my grandma used to say, “Panza llena, corazón contento” (Full stomach, happy heart).
Though I primarily write about my culinary adventures on MuyBuenoCookbook.com, I also contribute to Parade Magazine and work as a recipe developer for Betty Crocker, Clabber Girl, and KitchenAid. I live in Colorado with my husband and two children. You can find me on Twitter @MuyBuenoCooking and Facebook.
Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack is the writer at the award winning blog, MuyBuenoCookbook.com. She also is a professional recipe developer and food writer, and is the co-author of Muy Bueno: Three Generations of Authentic Mexican Flavor. You can watch a trailer for the book here.