- Secrets of Colombian Cooking Cover – PMG
A continuation of Food Trend’s interview with cookbook author, Patricia McCausland-Gallo (or Pachi as she likes to be called) and her love of her native country’s fine fare.
FT: Pachi, Is there a definitive Colombian dish or food that belongs to that country?
PMG: There are many, one of the most popular is Ajiaco (name originating from poor mans soup where ají or hot peppers were added to reduce any foul tastes), then later transformed to an elegant soup with chicken, cream and capers. Others include arepas, buñuelos, ajíes, hormigas culonas, natilla, sancocho, tamales, corozo juice, sopa de tortuga (turtle soup now banned), and many more.
FT: How easy/difficult was it to get a publisher to believe in your idea for this book?
PMG: Not easy as I do not live in the US. I finally found a publisher who likes to do ethnic cookbooks and that´s how it happened.
PMG: Beautiful, fantastic, a dream come true! So many people were eager to share their talent and traditions that when I had finished, I was full of love from people who had rarely seen me.
FT: Tell us about the process of traveling throughout Colombia to research these recipes?
FT: Tell us a bit about you- what’s your background and where does your interest in food come from?
PMG: I am the daughter of a Pastry Chef, who had a French bakery. I used to decorate birthday cakes by the age of 13 and got paid 50 Colombian pesos then. I went to Louisiana State University in the US to study food science and finally graduated in Foods and Nutrition, while at the same time flying during summers to Paris to take courses at Lenôtre and to the AIB in Manhattan, Kansas to take baking courses. I worked with my mother for 3 years before moving to another town, Cali where I started my own bakery, which I later sold to start a large Wholesale cake company.
FT: That’s a full plate. Tell me about the McCausland name- it isn’t a typical Colombian last name – are your family roots English?
PMG: They are Scottish, my great-great grandfather, Alexander McCausland arrived in Colombia from Scottland through the US and then Cuba and the Antilles, as a boat captain for the river boats at the Magdalena River.
FT: And finally- do you have a favorite ingredient you love to cook with?
PMG: Yes my favorite ingredient to cook with is Cilantro!!!!!
Come back soon to catch a few of Pachi’s best and favourite recipes, including the delectable Pandebono (cheese breads).