Food From My Heart {Cookbook Giveaway}


Thank you all for your wonderful memories.  We treasure sharing our cooking memories with you, and look forward to hearing more of yours!  Our winner recalled:

My favorite food memories are the many tamaladas with my family. It is always as much an opportunity to talk with sisters and mama as it is to tasting that first batch of fresh tamales.

Chef Zarela Martinez, Food from my Heart

We are pleased to announce the winner of 2011’s Valentine’s Day Classic Mexican Cookbook giveaway: Andrea of Fork Fingers Chopsticks!

Food From My Heart {Cookbook Giveaway}

You don’t need to scrutinize my cookbook library to know that Mexican food is the one that most speaks to mi panza y mi corazon.

Notice a pattern?

Of my 20 Mexican cookbooks, the most cherished ones spend very little time on my bookshelf and equal time between my kitchen counter and my nightstand. They are the cookbooks that leave me most sated.  These cookbooks not only entice my insatiable need to cook, feed others and eat well but also captivate me with anecdotes, memories and wit. Zarela’s Food From My Heart is one of these truly extraordinary books.

Alex and I are both very grateful to have Z in our lives as a mentor and friend. She has cooked us the best meals we’ve ever eaten, shared recipes with us that we didn’t need to tweak (hard for a food blogger to do, no?) and has helped fuel my passion for Mexican food and culture.

I adore Food From My Heart so much that I bought two copies.

But don’t you think it’s a bit selfish of me to keep both? So I’ve decided to give one to one lucky reader. Let me know: What dish brings back your fondest memories?

My memory food is simply a bowl of creamy, two-day-old pinto beans served with homemade flour tortillas. I can still feel the velvety brown bean juice running down my fingers as I scooped up the beans with the brown flecked tortillas so lovingly made and the sound of my grandpa walking down the hall humming, “La-di-da-da-da-daaa!”

Entry Rules:

  • Enter once here,  let us know your fondest food memory!
  • Enter again by tweeting your fond food memory @gabrielaskitchn, sharing on facebook, and subscribing to our rss feed (that’s a total of 4 entries per person!).
  • Deadline to enter is Sunday, February 13, 2011, 11:59PM. Winner chosen at random and announced on Monday, February 14, 2011.

Also, if you live in New York City, I highly recommend you make reservations to eat at Zarela’s Restaurant since its last meal, after 23 years of service, will be on Sunday, February 13th, 2011. However sad I may be to see this kitchen close, I know that Z’s next restaurant will be something to look forward to!

58 Responses to “Food From My Heart {Cookbook Giveaway}”
  1. Gianna says:

    Making homemade pizza pockets with my mom.

  2. brian e. says:

    Thanks for the giveaway…the hours I spent with my Mom in the kitchen when I was a kid as she baked Irish Soda Bread, and brown bread.

  3. Sand says:

    My fondest food memory is spending the night at my Grandma’s house and waking up to the scent of a grand breakfast made from scratch. Her biscuits were killer and I bake them on special occasions in tribute to her.

  4. Christine says:

    baking cookies with mom

  5. Elisa says:

    I loved my granddad making homemade crepe-style pancakes!


  6. Darcy Bishop says:

    My fondest food memory was my first taste of chocolate cake –I was about 5, and I was hypnotized. I cried when it was gone.

  7. judee says:

    My fondest food memory was whenever my grandmother (who lived in another state, MILES away) baked delicious goodies whenever she came to visit and mailed them to us for Christmas.

  8. valerie mabrey says:

    I love the memory of my mom making christmas cookies! She made Santa’s eyes blue and every little detail. Can still remember standing with the big feezer door open sneaking in the Tupperware container and eating a frozen drum or soldier!

  9. Suzan says:

    When I was a little girl, my father used to make a special Turkish appetizer called puazcha (sp?) every Sunday during football season. They are little triangles of dough stuffed with seasoned beef. It became tradition that I got to be his special helper and brush on the egg wash and sprinkle to paprika. The appetizer was ok, but the tradition meant everything to me and is something I carry on with my own children.

  10. Alyssa says:

    My fondest memory of my moms cooking was her home made chicken soup. I knew when I got sick she would always make a fresh batch for me. Great memories.

  11. Suzan says:

    My father used to make a Turkish appetizer named puazcha sp?) (for us every Sunday during football season. It was essentially little triangles of dough stuffed with seasoned ground beef. The appetizer itself was not so wonderful, as he always let me brush the egg wash on and sprinkle the paprika. It became our tradition that I now carry on with my own children,

  12. Jennifer B. says:

    My fondest food memory is learning to roast a turkey with my mom. Every year at Thanksgiving, she’d get me up at dawn and we’d prepare the turkey together.

  13. Diane Baum says:

    My fondest food memory? so many -Baking my first pie with my grandma

  14. alycep says:

    Growing up in a german home my fondest food memories are of mostly pork meals. Sunday dinner was often roast pork with onions and potatoes. Simple, hearty, warming food that reminds you of home and loved ones.

  15. Suzanne K says:

    My fondest food memory is of eating my grandmother’s ‘Milch Reis’ in Germany when I got to visit. Sadly, I never got her recipe (for that or a lot of other wonderful things she cooked). But, after much internet research, I’ve finally gotten close! Still misses her wonderful touch and smile, but oh the memories!

  16. dana austin says:

    My fondest food memory is with my dad. On vacations we’d always wake up early and go get donuts for everyone. Before going back to the hotel, we’d sit at the counter and have a donut together.

  17. Francine says:

    When I was 3, my mom used to give me scraps of pastry to “bake” with to keep me occupied while she was baking. I used to make cookies with it to give to my dad. Poor dad! My cooking and baking skills have greatly improved since then, but I cherish the time I spent with my mom.

  18. Valeria L. says:

    Nice topic. My favorite food memory is when my grandmother would make caldo de res, which I don’t like but would save the bone barrow just for me because she knew I love it. She would roll it up in a corn tortilla with just a a sprinke of salt. She made me feel very special.

  19. Lorena M says:

    Making and eating tamales at my mom and grandma’s house. What a labor of love.

    Thanks for the contest so I can relive these memories; I will tweet and Facebook it.

  20. moonsword says:

    My favorite food memory is the time when my grandma taught me how to make her super yummy holiday cookies. No one else in our big Italian family knew her secret recipes, so it was really special when she taught me how to make them. She was so amazing and I truly treasure that memory!

  21. Kimberly says:

    My fondest food memory is the first time I cooked a meal with my daughter.

  22. Carol Harrity says:

    On Sundays the preacher was frequently invited to dinner. The menu didn’t vary much: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, cream gravy, biscuits and honey and a vegetable. The finale was one of mom’s pies-usually cherry made with home canned cherries. It always brings a smile to my face remembering those much simpler times.

  23. Amber says:

    I wish I was in New York so I could eat at Zarela’s 😦 My fondest food memory is making traditional German cheesecake with my Oma!

  24. EMMAL HORTON says:


  25. Erin says:

    Definitely making Christmas fudge with my mother and sisters. Family traditions in the kitchen are the best!

  26. Shannon says:

    My fondest food memory is when I had lamb chops for the first time. Wow! It was at a little restaurant in Bonaire called the Mona Lisa.


  27. MelissaO says:

    When I was living in my husband’s village in Yucatan, I ate at his mom’s house every day and I slowly became part of the family (even though our relationship wasn’t public). I was very close to his sisters but his dad is a typically stoic and reserved Mayan man. It was most memorable the day that his dad asked me to eat from his plate of relleno negro (Yucatan specialty) with him…this type of behavior is only reserved for very intimate relationships. I share plates with my husband and sister-in-law, but never with the father or mother in law!

    wolverina401 at gmail dot com

  28. Vittoria says:

    i subscribe to your rss feed!

  29. Vittoria says:

    my fondest food memory is the first time my mother re-used an old recipe of her grandmother’s…after she died, my mother didn’t use them as much since she was just too sad. then one christmas, she decided to make her favorite cookies again. when they were finally out of the oven, my mother ate one and with tears in her eyes said “they taste just like the way she used to make them.” we make them every year…and my great-grandmother is with us again.

  30. Crawfish boils with my family.

  31. Teslaca says:

    Cooking fried eggs to be placed on top of slices of toast with my grandmother is one of my most fond memories. I could walk to her house and she would always be happy to make eggs on toast at any hour of the day for me.

    Zarela’s Veracruz is one of my all-time favorite cookbooks! I haven’t seen the one you are giving away, but know I would love to have it.

  32. L says:

    Mom’s Christmas cookies!

  33. Gina R says:

    My fondest food memory is learning how to make my Grandmother’s Thanksgiving stuffing, we even filmed us making it so we can remember it forever

  34. Dana says:

    I spend part of the year living in Australia and there are times where I have intense cravings for my Mom’s Japanese style chicken curry or her chicken and dumplings and I guess these are my fondest food memories because they must symbolize safety, home, and comfort in my subconscious.

  35. Kashena says:

    My best friend and I used to host a chili night every once in a while. We loved to do it because it meant we could entertain our friends for cheap – we’d buy bunches and bunches of beans, tomatoes, onions, etc, and then get the biggest pot we could find – we once had 30 people come for chili! It was amazing to feed that many people at once with something filling, comforting and fairly healthy (we usually made it vegetarian).

  36. My fondest food memories are baking apple pies with my mom when I was barely able to lift a rolling pin!

  37. Kat says:

    I dream of the days from my childhood when I was lucky enough to eat my very favorite sour cream chicken enchilada’s from Eduardo’s, which has since closed. Every year for my birthday I requested either those or asked mom to make her version, which were just as yummy. Just thinking about them makes my mouth water all over again…

  38. Eliana says:

    I absolutely adore Zarela’s restaurant. Love the homey feel of the decor and of course, the food is incredible. A food that many of my American friends think is weird but always brings me back to my childhood is oxtail (rabo guisado). This beef-stew-like dish is very common in Latino caribbean households and one that we ate often when I was growing up. Recently, my mom came to my house and gave me a step by step lesson on how she makes it and I can’t wait to have kids of my own to make it for them.

  39. Cee says:

    My fondest food memory is right after my daughter was born. I had a c-section, was struggling to breastfeed, and my husband would bring me sandwiches that he’d made. They were just lunchmeats on bread, but I knew he was doing his best to take care of me and our daughter – he even learned to cook several basic recipes for us. It was so very sweet.

  40. Julie B says:

    My mom who is Japanese used to make us okayu whenever we were sick. It is a rice porridge with egg, soothing and easy to eat. Ultimate comfort food!

  41. Jean B. says:

    I think my fondest food memories must be my birthday dinners. They consisted of sauerbraten, potato pancakes, applesauce, green salad with Bohemian Dressing (aka “eggy dressing”, which featured hard-cooked egg white pressed through a sieve over the greens), and blueberry pie. I preferred pie to cake. One mystery to me was how way back in the 50s my mom managed to get those blueberries for that pie in Boston in January. I also think of how expensive it must have been to get them out of season and all the effort she must have out into that meal.

  42. Joan says:

    My Mom used to make me fried potatoes when I had a cold. I still crave me when I’m not feeling good. They remind me of her love.

  43. Sheesh! My food memories are an open book. LOL! All the Mexican dishes my grandma and mom made for me growing up are all fond to me. I’ve always said after I write a cookbook I want to publish a children’s scratch and sniff book with all the smells of my childhood — roasting chile, homemade flour tortillas, frijoles de la olla, manzanilla tea, sheesh the list goes on and on!!!

    I’ll FB about your giveaway! I need me that cookbook 😉

  44. Kaye says:

    Subscribed to your RSS feed.

  45. Kaye says:

    When we visited my grandparents in Texas, we frequently ate TexMex food. At the time, I didn’t really appreciate the food, but I *loved* tamales. I would eat tamales and corn tortillas while my family ate wonderful plates of enchiladas and tacos and rice and … Tamales are still one of my favorite comfort foods.

  46. Angelica says:

    Oh, where to begin….frijoles are a good start, but another good memory for me are bunuelos at Christmastime. My mom had a room that were filled with baskets of them and I would imagine myself starting at one basket and eating my way through the last basket at the opposite end of the room (a record I almost broke at one time in my childhood). My other would be hearing the wooden roller hit the counter as my mom and/or tias would roll out tortillas with lightning speed. I would imagine how hard they had to work as young girls/women working in their mother’s restaurant.

    I’m totally curious about Chef’s Zarelas recipes and stories. TFS

  47. I love reading your post, I was recommended to you by a great friend, I hope I win, and i wish I could try your food:)

  48. Whenever I feel down I would always go to my mamas for some cheering up and I always ask for enchiladas or gorditas. They warm my heart and my soul and when possible I ask for sopapillas because they remind me of my beautiful grandmother and all the strong women in my family. 🙂

  49. Shayna says:

    Oooo, what fun!! Nearly every year of my “grown up” life, I request the same birthday meal from my mom. Breaded steak with mashed potatoes, green beans, her biscuits and a homemade Ho Ho Cake for dessert. It is allllways so tasty and I think this little menu will be treasured for years to come. 🙂

  50. My favorite food memories are the many tamaladas with my family. It is always as much an opportunity to talk with sisters and mama as it is to tasting that first batch of fresh tamales.

  51. YayaOrchid says:

    Gabriella, I already tweeted and shared it on your FB page. Really want those extra chances at a win!

  52. YayaOrchid says:

    Oh, how I would love a copy of this book. It is so nice of you to give us a chance to win it!

    My sweet food memory is my Abuelita making champurrado for me to enjoy on a cold Winter evening. Really helped warm my belly and my soul!

  53. gloria says:

    Hi Gabriella. She is just moving up a few streets from what she say. A little further but “Z’s” should still be in business. I have the same cookbook you have, “Food from my Heart.” I love it too and all the stories that go with the recipes. Out of this world. Good luck with your giveaway and continue your cooking, I love to read your posts. Take care.

  54. Ernie Mendoza says:

    My favorite and probably one of the earliest is sitting at the kitchen table and watching my mama roll out her delicious flour tortillas and waiting for the first to come off the comal. She would spread butter on it and roll it up and hand it to me wrapped in a napkin. Even so, the warm butter would ooze out the bottom. There was nothing so good as that first bite.

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  1. […] gabriela’s kitchenWhat: One copy of Chef Zarela Martinez’s classic, Food from my HeartHow To Enter: Leave a […]

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