Cooking with Coffee
cooking with coffee
….saved my life ?
How cooking with coffee saved my life is a story of struggle, companionship and even community. It happened when my two eldest daughters where out at college and the third daughter in her teens. I was working on a book for newlyweds; one which I will retake next month after the wedding of my daughter number 2. I was home alone, though not literally, almost, because my girl was out and about and my husband and I were getting closer to the empty nest.
As I kept working non-stop on this other book that was so exciting for me, because we were going to be there soon, either empty nesters sad and mean, bickering and boring, or newlyweds again, fun and feisty, sexy and ready to head out at night again. Then, in the middle of the project, my husband comes home with a magazine with an article about the expansion of coffee shops in the world and the way coffee was beginning to be the new WINE. He wants me to write a book on cooking with coffee. So, as the business mas he is, he suggested I should stop what I was doing and get to work on recipes made with coffee; cooking with coffee.
Here comes the salvation story? Well, there is nothing I dislike more than having my half orange- as we call our partner in Colombia- be right about something when it comes to my work. Mine is all about creativity, passion, color, desire, emotion. And his, an engineer, is about, numbers and efficiency. Anything and everything has to be on the positive side of the scale and measured. Simple as that, he is very very clear. This works, that doesn’t. So, even though this was the first time he had come up with any kind of suggestion for my books, and it was a first time book ever written on cooking with coffee, this time it was more an emotional order than a suggestion.
I think both my half orange and I are type A personalities, which have lived peacefully due to the different jobs we have. And now he wanted to come in and tell me what and when to do. Mmmm…. not something that goes well with me. So the emotion he had on how great this book would be, cooking with coffee, was taken by me with a surprise that is not that likable. Do you know when someone comes with a gift, something that you have at times said you don ́t need or like, but that person thinks he is giving you the panacea, and you don ́t know what surprised face to make? The feeling being so strong, it comes through and even though you don ́t want to ruin the moment, its stronger than you and it just turns out bad. Well this happened here, the only real problem is that I was sleeping with the gift giver, and wanted to scream and so much more. So the next days were a bit stressed, instead of full of thankfulness for the greatest gift, which was the idea of a book never written before, cooking with coffee, and one who would finally give me the biggest international sales, and two awards. All of that of course unknown and not even to be discussed at that point.
Next couple of days were practically not productive, to say the least. My couples book was at a physical stop, while still on the mental page very strongly and the cooking with coffee book buzzing on my head all day, like that bee that keeps coming back after your drink at a picnic. The biggest wall I had to break was that one that I had constructed myself. That wall that was simple an egotistic childlike aversion to having my husband being right. Actually after 28 years of marriage, there is still competition; like deciding who took the best picture that appears on the digital camera…hahaha. I still remember an amazing picture he took one early morning at sunrise, after discussing and saying I had taken it, he finally realized, it was a picture of sunrise at the beach! I have never been up before sunrise at the beach. He actually gets all his brownie or John Gray* points by bringing me coffee in bed after the gym or practicing golf. So… I didn ́t take the picture
Back to the book, I finally decided I would get into cooking with coffee and give myself a present for the huge emotional toll his idea had taken on me. So I flew to the coffee zone in Panama, as we have been living here for 15 years now, for 2 days and brought back with me some amazing fresh coffee, right out of the roaster and with an aroma that made me want to prepare everything with that particular coffee. At the beginning, being a Pastry Chef and the daughter of a Master Pastry Chef, I began my cooking with coffee trials with breads, bars and cookies. As I went along into ice creams, cakes and desserts I was in the work kitchen almost 24-7 and producing so much coffee infused food that I was sending it out the the community where I lived. By the way, one time a lady came to say thank you and my husband told her that I gave all those divine goodies from cooking with coffee trials away so I would ́t gain the weight, not totally untrue, but… By now you can imagine he is quite the character, dressed in a suit and tie, that confuses people with the way he looks and the things he says outside of his office.
The following month I decided to fly out to Colombia with one of my daughters who was back from college for the summer and spent some days in the coffee zones of Viejo Caldas, in order to experience more the process of the good practices in the production of great coffee.
So a couple of years passed and finally Passion for Coffee, the book on cooking with coffee, had sold over 65,000 copies in Europe only and also sold in all Latin America, 2 awards, on in the US by the IBPA and one in Europe by GOURMAND.
The fact that the one bag of amazing fresh, just roasted dark brown coffee beans with its aroma that permeated the plane and my home for many days, kept the peace and saved my life and my husbands, indeed.
John Gray* is the author and speaker of Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus