Cooking, like music, is infinite. I've been experimenting with the humble scrambled egg after reading that an egg beater is mandatory for proper mixing. To think I've been scrambling eggs for six decades using a fork. Years ago, I began snipping fresh parsley on top. More recently my son introduced me to the verrrrrry low heat method, which takes forever but gives the bread time to toast.
When I heard a new cookbook, "Traditionally Rustic Food," is launching Saturday at Towne Center Books, I called author Carmen Delgado to learn more about her cooking.
Delgado is from Cordoba, Spain, and a couple of decades back lived for a year in Boston, where she learned to speak English.
"I lived by myself and cooked for myself, and I always loved watching cooking shows," she remembered. "I became a huge cookbook collector."
She moved to Australia where she met her husband, Cristian Aiuto, who is also from Cordoba, but in Argentina. To improve their health she went to a nutritionist who advocated organic foods, which is all she ate while pregnant with her daughter, Gabriela Aiuto, now 14.
They moved to the Bay Area in 2016 for her husband's job, choosing Pleasanton after reading it's a great place for families. Gabriela is just starting at Amador Valley High.
"I was a busy working mother in Australia but when we moved to the Bay Area, I become a 100% mom," Delgado said. "I'd started a food business in Australia and thought I was going to pursue this."
First she set out to find where to buy the best ingredients.
"Once I discovered the farmers markets, I was in heaven," Delgado said. "That's my favorite place to shop -- in Pleasanton, Livermore, Walnut Creek. I will go to a farmers market even if I only need to buy a lettuce; I like the freshness of the food."
She also keeps her cooking seasonal.
"I think nature is so smart," she said. "In the summer, fruits freshen you up. In the winter, we need citrus for vitamin C."
Soon she began to offer her classes, and the pandemic offered new opportunities as companies hired her to bring employees some fun -- including her paella and sangria class -- and parents wanted something new for their kids online.
"I love to see little kids cooking and listening," Delgado said. "I want to get children as young as 5 into the kitchen, to start taking ownership."
At birthday parties she will lead the children in cooking whatever they choose -- often Chinese or Italian cuisine -- plus always a birthday cake or cupcakes.
"Adults will choose a class because they are interested in some recipe or type of food; children just come to have fun," Delgado said.
She began to write down differences in cooking cultures and favorite recipes as she experimented. Then when she sought a cookbook as a gift for friend -- with simple recipes and dishes her family would enjoy -- Delgado found nothing appropriate.
"I have to write my own book," she remembered thinking. "Then I got serious about writing."
The endeavor has been international, with her niece Rosa Marmol in Spain designing the book, and a company in Australia helping her publish.
"Traditionally Rustic Food" includes Spanish and Argentinian recipes from her family among others. She said she learned from teaching how to give clear instructions and to use ingredients that are easy to find.
"'Rustic' means it's simple food -- the recipes are easy to follow," Delgado said. "It is a cookbook for everyday cooking."
I'll bet Carmen Delgado knows how to make a mean scrambled egg.
Editor's note: Dolores Fox Ciardelli is Tri-Valley Life editor for the Pleasanton Weekly. Her column, "Valley Views," appears on the second and fourth Fridays of each month.