A family that cooks together

Pat Resendes of Stockton has won many awards for recipes she’s submitted to the Asparagus Festival. For Resendes, cooking is a family affair. When I visited her to get shots of her cooking some of her latest asparagus dishes that she’s come up with for this year’s festival, she was helped by granddaughters, 9-year-old Sidni Okazaki and 7-year-old Danielle Okazaki as well as their mother, Resendes’ daughter, Michelle Okazaki. They were all very comfortable in working in Resendes’ kitchen. She said the first thing the kids learn is how to crack eggs.

From the looks of things the girls were well beyond that simple task. As Resendes cooked a dish she called Asparagus ala Diabla with shrimp (a first place entry from 2007), Sidni and Danielle worked on their own, new-for-this-year recipes. Sidni made crab and asparagus rangoon which resembled fried won tons or the Japanese dish called gyoza. Danielle with help from her mom Michelle, made asparagus deviled eggs. They offered me tastes of each dish as they prepared them, but I told them the first rule of food photography is never to eat the dishes before you’re done shooting them.

As each dish was finished, I placed them on a small table and used some simple window light to photograph them individually. The smell was mouth-watering. I shot them as quickly as I could so that I could get a quick bite at the end. I’m not a deviled egg fan, but Danielle’s creation was quite tasty. The rangoon had a nice, crispiness to it. And the Asparagus ala Diabla had just the right amount of spicy kick without being too hot.

Pat Resendes,center left, with her daughter Michelle Okazaki, center right, and granddaughters Danielle, 7, left front, and Sidni, 9, Okazaki with three asparagus-based recipes at Resendes’ home in Stockton. (Camera: Nikon D300. Lens: Nikkor 17-55mm @ 17mm. Exposure: 1/30th sec. @ f/4. ISO: 400)

Michelle Okazaki said the kitchen is a madhouse on contest day. There’s Resendes and Okazaki’s four children, (Samantha, 18, and Derek, 15, weren’t there when I was). Added to that, each of Michelle’s three brothers sends at least one family member to participate. There can be a small army in the modest kitchen, all making food at the same time. Pat Resendes joked “It takes a village to make a meal.” Maybe not a village, in the Resendes household, it takes a family.

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