Why Your Kitchen Should be a Happy Place

Kitchen Queens?
Typical ingredients found in a happy kitchen.
Typical ingredients found in a happy kitchen.

by Lizette Barretto-Gueco, via FoodfindsAsia.com |

My kitchen is a happy place!

It is my beehive and I am the Queen bee. It buzzes with lots of activity all throughout the day. It is where all the energy in my home emanate from and where our bodies and souls get the most nourishment. It’s neither extra spacious nor grand nor state of the art and my tools may need updating but everything has a place and purpose.

When I visit family and friends in the States, I like it that everything revolves around what happens in the kitchen. While we plan, prepare and cook a meal then clean up after, endless activity and conversation flow smoothly and happily around us. The quality time spent working together, the easy camaraderie as well as the back and forth bantering or sometimes, just comfortable silence, creates a bond like no other. Love and joy are the main ingredients in the food that is produced during this special activity.

So luckily for me, that same thing is a natural occurrence in my home. The only difference, of course is, I have Yaya Pia whom I credit for making things easier by doing most of the clean up. She is truly a Godsend to our family.

When my brothers drop by for breakfast, they head straight to the kitchen where I am preparing coffee and comfortably hang out there with me till it’s time to move to the big table. Even Bruce, my brother Vince’s beloved Shih Tzu, takes his favorite spot on the floor and with his bowl of water, is part of our early morning coffee chit chats.

The busy kitchen
The busy kitchen

During the course of the whole day, my children are always in the way but I don’t mind it one bit. It delights me that they are interested enough to look over my shoulder to see what’s cooking, to open the fridge and freezer doors and the pantry as well just to see what’s new and often times, end up creating their own culinary masterpieces. It gets really crazy when I have cake or cookie orders to rush at the same time. I actually live for all that ruckus! It is my opium! It keeps me alert and on my toes. I love the sights, sounds and smells that come from my kitchen when it is at its busiest.

I admire the kids these days that know their way around the kitchen. They are really handy to have in our midst. They add that breath of fresh air in an otherwise, stuffy and hot work place. Studies show that kids that grow up working hand in hand with family members in the kitchen are not only more adventurous in their choice of food to eat but at the same time healthier eaters as well. They are also confident in the skills they’ve acquired working around food. These kids grow up to be more independent, reliable and less prone to drug abuse in their teen years. They also develop good working habits and are very often “team players.”

Some kids get so comfortable in the kitchen that they even take it a step further and make it their place of work, or more fitting, their place of play. Or both. A playground where at the same time, they make a living.

One such enterprising young person is Pam Tamayo. Growing up in a home where Mom and Grandma happily rule their own kitchens, she has easily taken her rightful place in her very own bakery at home. Pamcakes came about when Pam decided to be a pastry chef instead of a Doctor, which was the original path she was following. A graduate of BS Pharmacy at the University of Sto. Tomas, she later opted to follow her heart and took a culinary course at the Culinary Global Academy in Alabang where she finished at the top of her batch. Everything followed from there. By word of mouth, Pamcakes grew and became popular with students and mommies wanting a more custom-made and personal touch to their orders. Her clients like it that they get exactly what they ask for.


Her red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting is an all time favorite among her loyal clientele. The chocolate cupcakes are also worth sinking your teeth into. Pam gets very creative designing with her different flavored frostings and use of chocolate bars like kitkat, snickers, m&m’s among others. The recipes she uses for all her creations are 100% her own.

Check Pam out at her online store #ILOVEPAMCAKES

Kids in the kitchen! Gotta love them. So glad mine are right smack in the middle of my own humble one. I must be doing something right! Can’t wait for their own careers in the Food industry, which my 2 older children are pursuing right now, to take off and soar. That will be the ultimate Mommy moment.

For those wanting to start their young ones in the kitchen, here’s a recipe that little hands can surely handle. Rice krispies and marshmallows; guaranteed to delight the kids as well as the kids at heart.

Rice Kripsie Rainbow Treats
Rice Kripsie Rainbow Treats

Rice Krispie Rainbow Treats

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 package 10 oz marshmallows
  • Or 5 cups mini marshmallows
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 1/3 cup rainbow sprinkles

In a saucepan over low heat, melt butter then add marshmallows. Mix until well blended. Remove from heat and add vanilla. Add the rice krispies and mix until well coated. Add the sprinkles and mix some more to combine.

Press into a well greased 9×13 pan. Cool then cut into bars.

About the Author

Lizette Barretto-Gueco
Lizette Barretto-Gueco

Lizette Barretto Gueco is a regular columnist at FoodFindsAsia.com.  She writes about her life’s passions which are family, home, food, relationships and how they fit in perfectly in her scheme of things and in the circle of life.

Lizette is now a busy home based mom after working in marketing and the travel industry for some time. She also ventured into jewelry design while she was a partner at a prestigious jewelry store at Greenbelt 5. Aside from juggling family schedules and managing the home, she also finds time to bake and sell her sweet offerings from her home as well as indulge in her other hobbies like jewelry making and arts and crafts.  She is an amateur filmmaker, traveler, foodie, dreamer and lover of life.

Lizette is a graduate of AB Communication arts from the Ateneo de Manila University.  You can email her at lizbgueco@gmail.com