HOME ON THE RANGE
What can I say other than this for me is really where it all began. I can remember her chocolate chip cookies, they weren’t the greatest but that’s not what’s important here because those we sell, isn’t her recipe anyhow. Our signature cookie recipe is my mom’s, not Nana’s and certainly not mine! What’s significant here instead is the fact that “home on the range” in our family truly meant that growing up, family times and the best of memories were made gathered around the stove or in the kitchens of our homes, and it truly was the heart of the home.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
You see, my Nana, she was one of the most amazing cooks. The kind of cook who could start with the most humble of ingredients such as beans, rice, and chilies, or on the sweet side, flour, sugar, and so on, and fashion it into some of the most delicious cuisine my mouth to this day, has ever tasted. And without measuring too, it was always a handful of this, or a pinch of that – my Nana always just *knew* the right amounts to toss into the bowl to create a batch of the most delicious things like hand-crafted tamales, flour tortillas, and fire-spicy New Mexico-style red chili. It also included various family favorite pastries, our beloved “pastelitos” and “biscochitos”, with the latter being these rich, shortbread-style cookies that were kissed by the sweetness of her secret ingredient, anise seed. (And funny enough, I never knew it was anise seed that gave that amazing taste in her cookies until I was well into culinary school, studying to be a professional chef where I learned what the flavor of anise truly was).
Now Nancy (our Cowgirl), she’s my mom and is of the three children my Nana had, the youngest and the one who followed in the footsteps, learning from Nana – the way to cook. In growing up in Nana’s kitchen, she really became known as the “cook” in our family, always in charge of large family celebrations such as Easter, Christmas Day and later on, Thanksgiving after Nana passed away. And interestingly, even though I’m the professionally trained, real chef in our family, I still consider my mom to be the one who’s truly the greatest cook.
So you see, as a youngster, the culinary influences I had were enormous – imagine always being surrounded by such great, yet simple, home-cooked goodness. And so it went, growing up, my mom took me under her wing and saw the joy I received in cooking, baking and serving others – just like she did, and like Nana too. It’s why I’m a chef today and why the Cowgirl Cookie Co. was created. There are just too many darn good recipes we all ate growing up, eating together, and sharing with others over the years and yes, this fabulous cookie recipe was the recipe we decided to start with. It’s delicious and we honestly can’t get enough. We thought, let’s start small and really give a taste of something just so ordinary but prepared by hands who love what they are doing and to deliver a taste that is nothing less than extraordinary. It’s our pleasure to share these and the many more family recipe favorites we’ve enjoyed over the years.
COWGIRLS, THE WEST, AND GOING WAY BACK…
But there’s more… There’s the whole rough and ready cowgirl connection as a huge part of our image, identity and family – quite simply, mom and I love anything western. We love what it is to be a Cowgirl and if you jump over to read our “M.O.” later on, it will explain more of how this just relates to our core beliefs. With the West, we just connect with it, and always have. But how does it fit into the family story? Well, its many layers fold – but starting with our ancestry.
Our family, we are Spanish hailing from Barcelona, Spain originally with roots and history traveling ultimately through New Mexico. That’s where Nana was born and raised, (our Papa too, Frank) which later brought along their three kids, Sonny, Lucille and my mom. When Nancy was just 6 months of age, the family decided to move to California and settled to make a future for all.
Now fast forward up in time to my arrival and in a nutshell, some of our early family vacations included traveling to a dude ranch in Northern California. It was an experience chock full of the beautiful outdoors, cowboys, cowgirls, great food, ranch houses, pool tables, and tons of fun. I was only seven years old at the time, my brother was five, and thus was born a total fascination with the West, The Wild West, and anything Western related… It honestly is in my soul and traces back to our early beginnings of a tougher life in rural New Mexico and those humble beginnings that bore such a great sense of family, harmony and happiness. It’s just the West. We love it, are inspired by it, and just feel very much at home here.
So today it’s just my mom, my dad, the rest of our great family (which has gotten much bigger), and me. We’re all full-grown, have some wrinkles, lots of experience and still share a deep passion for great food. We lost our Nana back in 1992, and even though it’s been a long time now, she’s still so very much alive in our hearts, homes, and cooking style. And though she’s not here to cook, we believe tribute and hearty thanks are important because hadn’t it been for Nana, we wouldn’t be the women and family we are today. Family was everything to Nana.
May our goodies at the Cowgirl Cookie Co. bring a taste of our family’s love and history into your hearts and homes. Here’s to your families, to appreciating what’s really important in life, and to enjoying every blessing we receive!