Here is a recipe for a successful cookbook that few might believe! It calls for one real estate agent, a missionary family in a remote village in the Sierra Mountains, and a lot of word-of-mouth advertising about marinated chiles on the streets of Mexico City. While these ingredients seem as unlikely as an Aztec temple in the middle of New York's Central Park, they are key elements to the success of Luis and Marilyn Peinado and their latest cookbook, Bienvenidos to Our Kitchen: Authentic Mexican Cooking.
The story starts with Marilyn, the daughter of American missionaries, living in a village high in the mountains and cut off from most of civilization. As a young girl, under the tutelage of the housekeeper Marcelina—or “Marcy” as she was called—Marilyn watched the preparation of original Mexican meals using the authentic ingredients and age-old techniques that were passed from one generation to another in the highlands of western Mexico. The stories Marcelina told of her husband, a revolutionary soldier, inspired the young girl to preserve the village's heritage through its cooking when she moved to the United States in 1973.
Meanwhile, her future husband Luis was living in Mexico City. He was born in Bolivia, studied in the U.S., and was teaching English to Mexican businessmen and other professionals. One day, a friend convinced him to take up real estate. His subsequent travels along the Pacific coast introduced him to many of the mouth-watering recipes contained in their book. Returning home, he would re-create the dishes on his own—with excellent results. When word got out about his marinated chiles, friends—and later, complete strangers—were asking him to cater their parties and special occasions. This continued for many years, and eventually he moved to California where he and Marilyn met and married.
Since that time, their gourmet skills have combined to make them one the best pairs of cooks in their new home of San Antonio. Marilyn now works as a legal secretary and Luis continues to work as a translator and language instructor. Their cooking and writing careers are taking off with great speed as their book continues to entertain and delight diners and readers in the U.S. and Mexico. They anxiously await attending the 3rd Annual Gastronomic Congress in Mexico City in the fall of 1992, where their expertise on Mexican cooking will be the focus of attention.