Liane: Food as Love

Liane. Faces of the Festival 2019. Photo by Steven Meckler

I was a chef for a while here in Tucson. It was my first job when I got here when I was 18. We always get the question of what’s your earliest memory of food. When I was three, my mom used to have a friend that cooked at a little restaurant called La Paloma in Miami, Arizona. She would go and help with the lunch rush and she would sit me in a little stool, right by the flattop where Stella would be cooking, and I would just be watching her. It was really powerful. I was raised by my sister and my brother-in-law, who is Jewish. I was initially baptized as Catholic, very Mexican from this little mining town, but I moved to Phoenix when I was five and experienced an entirely new different way of being. That family was from Brooklyn, so speech patterns, speech volume, speed, the pattern and rhythm and cadence of their language were all different. So, my perfect meal would be like matzo balls with gefilte fish with like enchiladas or something! I’m just as comfortable with having a really high stack of pastrami and mustard as I am with having cocido. I feel like that love of food has also been part of my ability to be a chameleon socially. I can connect with so many different people because I have so many different types of people in my family, which is not not unique in any way, shape, or form. But it is interesting. I’ve always just loved to cook, so it’s been a real pleasure to be able to share that passion and also share these recipes from home cooks and folks from immigrant and migrant and refugee communities. Hopefully, you know, it connects to people’s amygdala, and they have love when they when they smell or taste those foods in the future.

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