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Hello! My name is Cynthia. I was born in Port au Prince, Haiti. Growing up in Haiti, life was simple. We did not have much, but we made the very best with what we had. I grew up with my family and my extended family. We saw one another almost every day often and spent quality time together. Food was always the center of such gatherings.  At an early age, I realized how food could bring people together. Some of my fondest memories revolved about going to the market, buying food in preparation for Sunday dinners, a holiday dinner or a family gathering. The market was not too far from my house, and we could walk to the market. I now realize that these walks were learning opportunities. I learned a lot about purchasing food, cooking and hosting during these walks. My grandmother said, “Don’t say anything, just listen and watch”. I learned how to bargain for better prices, how to pick fresh produce, fish and poultry. We talked about how much money we had available, and how we could stretch that dollar and came up with delicious meals everyone could enjoy. We had to be creative when finances were tight.

            I came to the United States in my early teen years. I fell in love with the new country but things were different. Everything was fast paced. Mom was busy working. I had to adjust to the new life. I had to learn the new language, navigate high school and prepare myself for college. At the same time, I started working part time just like any other teenager in this country. Cooking was not the same. Cooking was not fun anymore. Cooking was about making something quick so that you don’t go to bed hungry. If I was having a busy day, I could just stop by the fast food or order take out.  Things were like that for many years until I got married and have children of my own. I became very passionate about cooking again. I wanted to re-create the family life I had where the kitchen was the happy center of the home. I wanted my kids to experience the joys I had as a child. How could I make that happen? I worked full time. I was a full time wife and a full time mom. I did not have that much time to spend in the kitchen, I said to myself.  As time went by, I became more budget and health oriented. I realized how much money I was spending on eating out, so I started making most of my meals at home. Cooking has helped me adopt a healthier lifestyle and has pushed me to learn how to stick to a smaller budget. I love the flexibility and freedom that cooking from home has given me. I get to decide what I want my food to taste like and have full control over all the ingredients and spices I will use.

            With my new journey came new roadblocks.  I realized that cooking was more than merely turning on a stove and heating things up. In the beginning, it was hard for me to find interesting recipes that weren’t too time-consuming.  Another problem I often ran into with recipes was buying a specific ingredient once and never using it again. I also had the learning curve of prepping food and picking out all my groceries ahead of time. After several attempts with different recipes, my cooking skills started to evolve. I was glad that I found a balance with my budget and learned how to prepare meals in a timely manner. Thankfully, I also found that it was possible to have a tight budget and still cook healthy meals.

            Cooking is a way for me to teach my children about my culture and upbringing. It is a way for us to spend time together, build memories and create new traditions as a family. Now, my kitchen is the center of my home. I often cook alongside my family members, and we share great times chatting and laughing around the kitchen table. From time to time, I invite friends over for dinner.  I love how food can teach you so much about different cultures and traditions; it creates an instant bond that helps everyone grow closer together. Through food, you can learn so much about an individual and their values too. It amazes me how a simple meal can create the best connections between people.

             Events that focus on food also get me excited. I look forward to holidays gatherings. It is an opportunity for me to strengthen the bonds not only among family members but also between friends and neighbors as well. What a great joy to have friends, coworkers, neighbors over for a simple meal?  In such relaxed environment, we get to know each other better and build memories. I like when people feel welcome and wanted at my table.  Also, I love attending foods fairs. At such events, it is an opportunity for me to learn about new foods /food traditions and meet like-minded people and form relationships. I find that wine/liquor  tastings  are ideal  for girl’s night out or date night for me and hubby  and visiting farms can be cherished family trips. My philosophy is that food is an essential part of life. You can go without many things in life but you can’t go without food. Rather than seeing food and everything else that come with it (prepping, cooking, cleaning, food shopping, budgeting etc.) as a burden,  I see it as  a joy and a privilege.  While it is a necessity, I understand that many go without food.  Therefore in my home we recognize that food is a blessing and we celebrate food. Every recipe I will be posting come from   “From My Plate to Your Heart”

            So, why did I create this blog? Well, if you’re anything like me, you seek to make memories with friends and family, you want to start cooking more from home, or maybe you just want to try out new recipes. Whatever the reasons, your food journey can begin right here, right now. My blog is a platform that will share recipes and pictures with everyone. I want to be able to hear stories about you and your food. We will cook together and share tips to encourage a lifelong journey toward improving our cooking skills and learning new things. Thank you for joining me. I am thrilled to start learning more about you soon!

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