Consuming information doesn’t guarantee learning. Wisdom may come with age but for many it eludes us forever. “Teach me to cook,” I pleaded. “You love him don’t you?” “Yes, I do.” “Then you know how to cook.” Obviously she didn’t remember hot dog and egg experiment. Maybe she had fed it to the cat under the table. She was kind and would have eaten failed experiments every day. Her beautiful face could convince the worst cook in the world she was a culinary genius. The flavors secondary. To be a good cook you must always do it with love in your heart. The flavors would catch up to the expression she believed cooking for a loved one was. A meal was a message. It needn’t be expensive or complicated. In fact, simple food let the main ingredient shine. Whenever she emerged into the room to announce the food was ready, her children saw her as nothing short of a magical being that could make a small feast from a bare cupboard. The call to dinner was unnecessary. Wafts of vaporized love, the love of mother, had found their way to us long before the call. She had heard the stories from her mother and she told them to her children and that’s how it went with everything. She would caution against eating anything from certain people. Every time she would tell me this I would ask how I would know which people. There was not a clear answer and I didn’t like that. Sometimes things like children become fussy around a certain person or houseplants dying after that person visited your home was a good sign you should be polite and accept the food, just don’t eat it. The person may not be intentionally causing these things to happen but some people just had the “mirada pesada” or a heavy look— the evil eye could exist within them even if unwelcome or uninvited. Then there were the one’s who had the “mirada pesada” or even “sangre pesado”, heavy blood and heavy look but they knew it. They might have even pursued it, invitation and all. I looked around my home. I had always had a way with plants and people often admired them when they came over. A little red thread, almost invisible, was tied to a stem low on the plant. This was how she saved the plants since she couldn’t just come right out and tell the person with the heavy look to not “chulear” my plants. It was ok to tell them to touch the plant– it is believed to be a way to minimize the negative impact of ojo.