I once argued with another foodie who claimed that a certain Philippine cookbook was a bestseller. I told her I disagreed and that I knew my mom’s cookbook, “Let’s Cook With Nora,” was the real bestseller. I realized I should have taken a more humble stance. It didn’t matter which one was the bestseller, as long as readers benefited from both cookbooks.
My mom’s cookbook was published sometime in the 1960s. As a young boy, I remember she took pains in testing each recipe in our kitchen. When the book came out, all her efforts paid off as it became the bible of many Filipino homes here and abroad. Even I would use it as a go-to book for ideas for my cooking show or simply to create new recipes.
I have spoken to hundreds of individuals who said they learned how to cook with this book. That’s why, when my mom died, I said: “She’s now part of many kitchens in Pinoy homes.”
I was blessed to have my mom live with me in her later years. Every time I reached a dead-end in my search for new recipes, I would go to her room and pick her brain. I loved those moments.
There were times we would disagree, but, mostly, I learned from her experience. She knew what people wanted to eat. She knew what would click, depending on who she was feeding. I loved that trait of hers. She was gifted in the kitchen.
For many years, one couldn’t find “Let’s Cook With Nora” from the shelves of National Bookstore. My siblings and I agreed that, with the patience and experience that my sister Nina had, she would fine-tune the book for today. Ingredients we didn’t have then would be added, as well as new techniques, new cooking utensils, instructions, etc.
Nina took on this challenge and, like my mom, kitchen-tested recipes that didn’t quite work then, and updated each and every recipe.
After three years, that brand-new, updated book is in the market. Your cookbook’s original edition, with wilted, warped pages full of patis, toyo, flour and other ingredients spilled on them, can finally rest.
My mom would have been proud of what Nina has done. These are the same recipes, but all in updated form. Like I always say, you can have the most delicious recipes, but if you serve them too often, your loved ones will get tired. This book will give you brand-new ideas, which you can surprise your family with.
“Let’s Cook With Nora” is now out, available at National Bookstore branches.