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April 12, 2024

Cookbooks: Igniting Culinary Passion

Category: Culinary

Author: Humberto Barraza, Regional Director of Culinary Compliance

For numerous chefs, there exists a pivotal cookbook that served as the catalyst for their culinary journey. This single book ignited an idea, unlocking a passion for cooking they may not have realized they possessed. Cookbooks transcend mere collections of recipes; they serve as windows into cultures, histories, and personal narratives. With each page turn, a new adventure, tradition, or innovative technique unfolds.

Every recipe and cookbook, whether passed down through generations or reimagined, enriches our culinary culture at The Parkway Senior Living. Exploring culinary resources nurtures and evolves our love for food and cooking.

My favorite cookbook in my collection is titled The Cuisine of California. What I appreciate most about this book is its feature of numerous great American chefs. To capture my interest, a cookbook must exude a genuine passion for food.

Mouthwatering plate of rice with shrimp and sausage gumbo, paired with a bowl of caramel bread pudding.

The chef who taught me how to cook passed down several recipes to me. Together, we clinched first place in a BBQ competition. One of my cherished creations is a BBQ sauce I developed.

This recipe holds a special place among my favorite dishes.


Time needed: 45 minutes

Simple step-by-step instructions for making authentic Tamales filled with pork, chicken or beans and cheese and cooked on the stovetop or in the instant pot. 
Prep Time: 25 minutes mins.
Cook Time: 20 minutes mins.
Cuisine: Mexican, Servings: 24 Tamales, Calories: 72kcal 


  1. For the Dough:

    4 cups Masa Harini 
    3 cups broth (beef, chicken, or vegetable broth) 
    2 teaspoons baking powder 
    1 teaspoon salt 
    1 teaspoon cumin 
    1 1/3 cups lard 
    8-ounce package dried corn husks 

  2. Filling ideas: 

    Red chili pork 
    Salsa Verde chicken 
    Beans and cheese 
    Authentic Mexican Rice

  3. Instructions:

    Soak the corn husks in a bowl of very hot water for 30 minutes or until softened.

    Prepare desired fillings.

    Make the tamal dough: In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the lard and 2 tablespoons of broth until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes. Combine the masa flour, baking powder, salt, and cumin in a separate bowl; stir into the lard mixture and beat well with an electric mixer.  

    Add the broth, little by little to form a very soft dough. Beat on high speed for several minutes. The dough should spread like creamy peanut butter and be slightly sticky. Cover the mixing bowl with a damp paper towel, to keep the dough from drying out.

    A plate with a stuffed corn tortilla topped with roja sauce, salsa verde, roasted tomato crema, cotija cheese, and fresh scallion.

Generational recipes or new culinary creations can spark nostalgia and inspire our cooking journey. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a home cook, we all have that one foolproof recipe. Don’t overlook the power of beloved cookbooks and their stories. Keep sharing and savoring the diverse flavors that await us.

The Parkway Senior Living in Blue Springs, MO offers senior villas, independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near St. Mary’s Medical Center and St. Luke’s Eastwith convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Adams Point Golf Course, KC Royals Stadum, KC Chiefs Stadium, Sporting KC, KC Comets, KC Mavericks, Adams Dairy Landing, and Blue Springs Parks, Trails, and Lakes .

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