As promised, I am going to take you on a step by step journey of Cocina Criolla. The world renowned Puerto Rican recipe book recently given to me by my 93 year old Grandmother, Petra Prado-Gonzalez. She gave it to me June 1st of this year – after I discovered it was her secret cookbook of Puerto Rican ingredients – that was given to her as a wedding gift 72 years ago. The book is a bit worn but still in pretty good condition. My initial thumb through brought back memories of my boyhood days in Miami, where she would cook up Puerto Rican style pork chops with Arroz con Gandules and we’d finish it off with some amazing flan.

Ahhh those were the days I love thinking about. When the internet wasn’t even a thought and the only way to learn something new was to actually find it in a book or someone’s head.

Mike Gonzalez with his Grandmother Petra Prado Gonzalez

As I digress, I want to bring this paragraph back to the point. This influential cookbook written by Carmen Aboy Vallejuli has stood the test of time. When I posted my first story about the book, I received dozens of emails from HFN fans saying they still have the copy their family members gave to them. To many this book is more than just recipes. It’s a link to their past – a connection to family and a feeling that food can bring like no other sense. Food cooked to perfection equals LOVE and I’m already in love with this book because of what it means to my Grandmother and great memories it helped bring to me over the years. I hope you enjoy this journey. This book is written in Spanish…so I will do my best to translate. Enjoy!


A mi madre, quien Dios ha dotado de todas las virtudes humanas y cuyo ejemplo es inspiracion de sus hijos y nietos. To my mother, who God had endowed with all the human virutes and whose example is an inspiration to her children and grandchildren.

Introduction (Introduccion)

Se ha escrito este libro con fe y entusiasmo, lo guia la esperanza de que ha de ser util. Lo inspira la certeza de que el arte culinario puede adquirirse facilmente, si se ajusta a recetas reactadas con amplios detalles y exactitud, que daran el conocimiento equivalente a largos anos de experiencia. Como complemento de las recetas tipicas del pais se incluyen otras muchas extranjeras que por su arraigo y popularridad aparecen frecuentemente en la mesa Puertorriquena. Eperamos haber logrado ofrecer un material variado que permita escoger menus debidamente cobinados que se disfruten con moderacion, pero con gusto. Deseamos expresar nuestro agradecimiento a todos los que realizacion de esta labor ofrecieron su estimulo y su cooperacion. C.A.V.


I’ve written this book with Faith and enthusiasm – I’m guided by the hope that it will be useful. The book will inspire the culinary art and you can obtain it easily if you follow the recipes and details exactly and you’ll ultimately acquire the knowledge equivalent to years of experience contained in this cookbook. To complement the typical recipes of Puerto Rico we’ve also included ones from other countries because they appear on Puerto Rican tables often and are very popular in the country. We hope we’ve managed to choose recipes and materials that will bring much more variety to your kitchen that you can enjoy. We’d like to express our gratitude to everyone’s work, encouragement and cooperation. C.A.V.


  1. There is an English translation of the book. (Puerto Rican Cookery) Though it is missing a couple of the recipes in the original Spanish version. It is definitely a must have for every Puerto Rican kitchen.
    Thanks for sharing the beautiful picture of your abuela’s very used copy of the book.
    My Mami passed away when I was only 15 and this book has helped me carry on the traditional foods of our country.

  2. My family keeps saying that I’m the worst Puertorican because I don’t know much about cooking PR dishes or I can jumble my Spanish words. But, I love being Puertoricaña. Having a family reunion in July. I will follow you and surprise them with some great PR foods from HFN!!! 👍😁

  3. Amazon has the book available in English and Spanish as well as a kindle version. In Puerto Rico is available in every gift shop and book store in Old San Juan and in Plaza las Americas. You might find it in newsstands in supermarkets as well. She wrote a third cookbook with her husband, Luis Valldejuli. This one, Juntos en la cocina, is only available in Spanish and Kindle version. I have seen copies in Barnes and Noble as well.

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