Grandmother, Granddaughter Duo Preserve Cuban Culture One Recipe at a Time

Samantha Montero and her abuela, Miriam Palomino, are bringing the flavor in the kitchen, and just like their Cuban cooking, their personalities are anything but bland.

Montero grew up eating her grandmother’s delicious Cuban cooking every Saturday and wanted to learn the recipes herself.

“I always loved the food and I said I need to learn how to make it,” Montero, a Miami native, said. “This is like a living heirloom of our family being able to cook and pass down because my mom also learned from her.”

In Spanish, Palomino described how her granddaughter always praised her dishes so they decided to film her Cuban creations on camera.

Instead of traditional paper recipes, Montero wanted to preserve her grandmother’s recipes online by posting their culinary adventures on her YouTube channel, SamazingTravels.

“Putting it on YouTube I also felt like I could just share it with my friends. They would be like oh my God I went to your abuela’s house and her arroz con pollo was delicious. How do I make that? Oh, well here you go. Here’s the link. Just watch,” Montero said.

There are no exact measurements in Palomino’s kitchen in Kendall. “Más o menos” or “more or less” is the secret to her recipes.

Their traditional Cuban dishes range from mouthwatering favorites like flan, tostones, mojo, black beans, Cuban coffee and more. The pair says these flavors are a big part of their Hispanic heritage.

“I think it’s important to our heritage because it’s what ties us to our roots,” Montero said. “What better way to get people together and enjoy a meal than being able to cook something that my grandmother learned from her mom and she learned from her mom. It’s just passed down through the generations and I hope one day to be able to do that to my kids or my grandkids,.”

Palomino has some professional experience too, appearing on MasterChef Latino.

In Spanish, Palomino said she feels extremely proud that her granddaughter wanted to follow her heritage and it’s all about leaving behind a lasting legacy.

“It’s about culture. That’s how I bring my Cuban culture everywhere. You cook it. It’s in your kitchen. It doesn’t matter where you are,” Montero said.