I am originally from Mendoza, Argentina, and the ancestors of my two grandmothers and one of my grandfathers were Italian. There were many generations of anonymous and talented cooks. My mum’s cooking, especially, was always a reason to feel proud. At home, everybody was welcome to share our meal, and she always cooked far more food than needed, for that very reason. That’s something that I still do today.
I don´t remember my mum teaching me formally to cook. Instead, I remember the casual comment while she was busy doing something else and I was very young: “Liliana, could you stir the stew and check if it is ready, please?” Or, ”Why don´t you try the sauce… you think that it needs more salt?” And so on. Gradually, I become a good cook myself, without even realizing and without any fuss. It seems the most natyral thing in the world!
I was a very committed student when I was young, and for many years, I fully focused on my studies. As time passed by, I got married and had my first two boys and followed my husband to Singapore, France, Singapore again, and finally to the U.K. where my third (and last) boy was born. All that time I managed to furhter my career with degrees as a scientist. Until one day I decided that I had achieved what I wanted in those fields, and that I really needed to slow the pace because I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. It was then that I started working freelance and having time again for other things, especially cooking!
Now, all my friends in Bristol identify me with food, and I am the official cake maker of the group, the school, my rowing club… My cooking has evolved with my travels, obviously, since at every destination I had the opportunity to travel extensively. That’s how I ended up adopting new methods, styles, ingredients, and flavors.
I almost never followed a recipe strictly, but instead, I used it for inspiration… with a few exceptions. These empanadas, for example, which have been prepared following Mendoza’s traditional recipe.