My beautiful mama Rose has been dead for six years, and I honestly think that one the biggest contributors to my coping with the loss of my best friend is continuing to make her yummy Mexican food recipes. After she died those first few weeks were torturous, the pain and silence I felt were surreal, and I felt lost without her.

Then one night, while on complete auto-pilot, I started making her Spanish rice recipe for dinner. I hadn’t made it since she died, even though it was a dish that I’d made thousands of times. As the house filled with the familiar aromas of frying rice, onions, garlic and other spices, I began to quietly weep in my kitchen. And then to my surprise, I felt my heartache lighten a little. Her rice had transported me back to my childhood and her kitchen, and I felt profoundly connected to her again.

For several years, I wept while making her recipes, but I also felt a deep, active connection to her, and so I kept cooking her mole, enchiladas, tacos, chimichangas, soups and other delicious dishes, and eventually, I stopped crying.

I’ve had several conversations with various friends and acquaintances that have had similar experiences with grief and homemade food. The aromas of their loved one’s recipes comfort them, and for a brief moment, their heartbreak is lighter. And they feel especially fortunate if they know how to make several of their family members most cherished recipes.

Today, I have a large picture of my sweet Mama directly across from my kitchen counter, and I routinely find myself having conversations with her as I chop the ingredients for dinner. Her guacamole recipe is one of my favorites, and I find myself taste testing it, looking at her photo and saying, “you’d love this, the avocados are so sweet and creamy.” I also love experimenting with her recipes and revising ingredients, and I can almost hear her telling me that she approves, disapproves or one of her favorites, that it’s no longer her recipe and not really Mexican food anymore.

I have other conversations with her too, about my day, work, children and through some magical homemade food portal it is where I feel her love, standing in my kitchen cooking and I feel our strong connection, not like a distant memory, but alive and all around me.

When I decided to write our story, Molé Mama; A Memoir of Love, Cooking, and Loss I wanted my book to help other caregivers feel comforted and to know that they weren’t alone in days leading up to their final goodbyes. I included eleven of our favorite recipes in the book, and now my readers are sending me pictures of their food in their homes, on their stoves and kitchen tables that they made using my mama’s recipes. It warms my heart and delights me to know that her recipes continue to connect families and friends.

If you are grieving an amazing home chef, I hope that making their recipes will comfort you too and lighten your heartache. And eventually, you will learn to live with your grief and its ok for it to take as long as it takes and ask for help.

And just a friendly reminder that if any of your living family members make delicious food, write down their recipes or better yet, videotape them cooking; you need to preserve these family treasures for future generations to enjoy.


  • Diana Silva

    Author, podcaster, vlogger, Molé Mama Founder

    Molé Mama

    Molé Mama is a San Diego-based author, home chef, vlogger, and podcaster. Diving into her Latina roots, she uses her magical molcajete, and other tools and techniques that make her food taste like grandma used to make back in Mexico.  Her book, Molé Mama; A Memoir of Love, Cooking, and Loss,  shares the stories of how she perfected her beloved mother's recipes. Readers swear that they smell Sonora enchiladas, Spanish rice, mole, and other delicious Mexican food simmering in their kitchens as they read her book.   Molé Mama Recipes YouTube cooking videos and weekly podcast celebrates family recipes, cooking delicious meals at home, and adding love to every recipe. Along with her guest chefs, Molé Mama explores recipes and traditions from around the world and the stories that keep them alive. Most of her podcasts will make you hungry, and you may find yourself dancing in your kitchen to salsa music.  Molé Mama is calling everyone to return to their kitchens and to preserve their living and past ancestors' favorite recipes and stories for future generations. "We need to try to preserve our cultures and not just let those favorite recipes disappear forever. The common thread of every cherished family recipe is that they were homemade with love, and that's the real secret ingredient," says Molé Mama. For many home chefs, cooking is their preferred love language, and that's why we cherish their recipes. Their love has the power to transcend an ordinary recipe into magic! Culinary Training  Diana was just nine years old, and when her culinary training began. Rose was making her legendary flour tortillas, and Diana's big job was to mix the masa. Rose expertly poured water, flour, salt, and a little baking powder in the bowl, and Diana eagerly put her small hands in the bowl and tried to follow her mother's patient instructions on how to mix it. Diana loved the way the sticky dough felt in her little fingers. She was so very proud and excited to help her mama. Diana didn't understand the road she had embarked on that afternoon and the joy she'd experience cooking with her mother for more than 20 years. To watch Molé Mama’s videos, listen to her podcasts and learn more go to: @mole_mama