My old blog, tennisandconversation, was mostly about food – food I grew up with, food I tasted in my travels and food I started cooking when I finally learned how to cook at a rather late period in my life. Naturally, because I had just learned how to cook, I wanted to cook everything – French, Spanish, anything I fancied from my quickly growing collection of cookbooks, as well as from hours I spent glued to the Food Network. I cooked foie gras, paellas and tortellitas, moroccan stews and beef wellingtons – but I sucked at pinakbet and I trembled with fear at the idea of making kare-kare.

It was then I realized that if I were to become a good cook, I must first learn to cook the food of my roots, the food that sustained me from childhood to adulthood, that triggered deep emotions and vivid memories. My mom was a good cook; from her kitchen wafted aromas of adobo, kare-kare, caldereta, laing, kadyos; at the dinner table, cooking tips were passed, along with platters of tinola and pork liver steaks. Our home, if it were viewed from another constellation, would certainly appear to be a tiny star, its fire coming from my mom’s trusty oven and stovetop.

Why not, then, draw from this universe and serve them up in my open kitchen? The truffle and wild mushroom risotto can come later.