Last week my nephew [seemingly] innocently asked me, “Titi,do you know how it to make soup?” It was such a random question that it threw meoff a bit. “Soup? Like from a can soup?” I asked, confused. “No, real soup,” he said.Oh, I thought. He must have had soup at his abuela’s recently. “No, I don’tknow how to make real soup.” He looked at me as if considering my response andthen proceeded to write in his notebook.
He is required to write in a journal every day to improvehis writing skills so when he finished, he handed it over to me so I couldreview it. His entry that day was titled “Why can’t my Titi make soup?” andread as follows:
“Why can’t my Titi know how to make soup. Mostly my family is cookers. My belly is telling me to eat but am at the library and I want to go to the computer. I am so hungry I could eat my Titi she’s learning to make soup.”
I started to laugh and asked him why he was writing about mycooking skills or lack thereof, and he informed me that I was not on his listof cookers—adults in his life who could cook. I couldn’t fault him. In hisalmost 10 years of life, our time together was never spent at my home. I’m thecool Titi, our time together has been spent at the park, movies, eating out…thefun stuff! I had sacrificed his cooker list to be his ‘funnest Titi.’
Still curious about the soup-specific question and knowinghis mom’s—my sister’s—lack of culinary prowess, I questioned him about the souphis Mom makes. He informed me it was in foil or something, lost interest in theconversation and walked away.
A few days later we were in my Mom’s kitchen while I was makingdinner. He told me he wasn’t sure about having my cooking and that no matterwhat his Mom’s cooking was number one! I said, “Sure, fine, your Mom is abetter cook blah blah blah. She makes awesome soup, so I heard.” This is whenhe remembered that “Grandma has the same kind of soup that Mommy makes. It’s upthere.”
I reached up to the cabinet he was pointing to and there, ina container was my competition; the soup that was holding me back from gettingon my nephew’s list of cookers; a packet of Top Ramen noodles.
Fast forward three days and meals of tostadas, steaksandwiches and some awesome tacos and I’ve not only made the list, but I am nownumber three. It’s the best I can hope for as Top Ramen isn’t on my menu.

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