Everything Tastes Good When You Cook With Love


Growing up, my mother was always the best cook and hostess. Nearly every weekend she would host a dinner party and invite everybody in town, from my school teachers to people she had met just moments earlier. To prepare, she would spend days in the kitchen, kneading dough for fresh bread, marinating and roasting chicken for hours, and reinventing traditional Middle Eastern dishes. As a little girl, I would sit beside her with a tiny piece of dough she had broken off for me and knead it for the hours that she cooked, convinced that I too, was creating delectable dishes that would later be enjoyed by family and friends. The dinner parties were always incredibly fun and never short of incessant praise over her cooking.

It wasn’t until I grew older that I realized my mother’s talent was unique and the praise was warranted – she truly had a gift and passion for cooking. There was something more to her feasts than proportionate ingredients working together. It was then that I said, “Mom, I want to cook like you. As I get older, I’m afraid I’ll never be able to create the foods I’ve grown to love and give my family the same experiences you’ve given us.” My mother’s response was as beautiful as her cooking. She said, “Nadine, everything tastes good when you cook with love. Always remember that.”  While it sounds like a typical mother response, I knew it to be genuine and true. Each of my mother’s meals were made with the purest love – each meal was a way for her to demonstrate her love for the art, love for hosting, and love for her family and friends.

I no longer live at home so food ‘cooked with love’ is hard to come by, but not something I have forgotten.  I’m convinced there are a few local restaurants that share my mother’s sentiment. These Seattle-area restaurants are family-run and provide authentically delicious food – each dish undoubtedly made with love. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

Paseo Seattle. Image from Cuban Food USA.

Paseo Carribean Restaurant – This tiny restaurant is literally housed in a shack with mouth-watering aromas that travel for miles. They specialize in Cuban sandwiches and often sell out by day’s end. They take cash-only, have lines that are a mile long, are closed on Sundays and Mondays, and shut down every year for the month of January. Despite the hodgepodge schedule and long wait time, their food is worth every bit of inconvenience.

Kabob House (original location) – This restaurant is as close as one can get to traditional Pakistani Indian cuisine. Their dishes are perfectly seasoned, with Chicken Biryani and Shahi Paneer being the stand-out menu options. While they have 2 locations, I recommend paying a visit to their Greenwood location. The service is unparalleled and the chefs have mastered the art of ‘cooking with love’.

Image from La Carta de Oaxaca.

 La Carta de Oaxaca – A family-run Oaxacan restaurant in the Ballard neighborhood, La Carta de Oaxaca offers fresh, authentic Mexican food. The staff is friendly and hospitable, making sure you enjoy every moment of your dining experience, despite their 45-minute guest wait and line out the door.

This post is by guest blogger, Nadine.


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