Terry Romero

Feb 28, 11 Terry Romero

♦ Co-Author of bestselling books Veganomicon, Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World and Vegan Cookies Invade Your Cookie Jar.
♦ Contributes to VegNews‘s “Hot Urban Eats” column

City you live in:
Queens, the borough of dreams, NYC

Occupation and why?
I’m a blend of cook, writer, cookbook author, graphic designer and foodie (sí, that’s a full time job!). It’s a stew of occupations made up the passions that have infected my life since the beginning: food, art, making stuff, writing about it.

A regular day consists of?
A regular day consists of? For the first time in my life I’ve transitioned to working from home (for now) and balancing work and life is an ever evolving process. I wake around 7:15 and try to lay still for another 20-25 minutes, since my best ideas seem to percolate when relaxed and I’m not yet thinking about the day ahead. When I’m ready scratch down those ideas before they get swept away by the morning’s activity. I’m dressed, fed and ready to hit the computer at 8:30, then it’s writing and researching until about 1pm (with music a constant pal for my writing tasks). I then cook (and clean, sigh), which can be anything from a simple lunch or working on recipes for publication or blogging. I take lots of photos of the food when possible. After lunch I read more, write and blog or do other Internet related tasks. Sometimes I trek into other parts of NYC for ingredient shopping or food research in the afternoon, but if not there’s more reading, writing and perhaps a break to hit the gym. 5pm I start dinner (like lunch, it’s often recipe building), then after often find myself engaging in more creative writing in evening when I feel inspired. That’s the thing about writing, I have to grab onto the urge when it strikes because it’s far more difficult to force it when I’m not feeling it, so that can mean writing at 10pm if I have a flow going. I try getting my fiction reading an hour before bed at midnight to help me unwind. As you can see I don’t get a lot of time for much TV or video games, which I need to schedule it into my day or else it never happens.

How do you define success?
It’s been complicated for me to define success, even now in my 30’s, since it’s so different from what my parents or where I grew up would call it. Like a lot of immigrant parents (I’m sure many Latinas and young women of most any culture can relate), pressure their kids to transform into perfect little doctors and lawyers. That’s a very narrow definition of success to strive for. My crazy paths of art/cooking/writing didn’t fit into that mold. For me it’s been piecing together a quilt of financial stability, chasing after my interests, time to relax and engage in activities that promote your strengths and downplay the less strong stuff. I would have mad a lousy lawyer but I’m hell in the kitchen and a keyboard.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Finding out where I fit in the rocky world of social media and the seismic upheavals in the publishing industry. Keeping up to date with the fast evolving worlds of vegan, food and publishing while finding the time to get that creative magma moving. Finding how best to warm up the Latin community to a healthy, cruelty-free way of eating. Making the perfect mojito.

What advice would you give a Latina who wants to follow in your footsteps?
Realize that while your parents are wonderful people, they may not understand the world you live in and you’ll have to break tradition to be the person you feel you need to be. If that means substituting seitan for meat in abuelita’s sancocho recipe, take courage if you don’t get applauds from mamá y papá, in time they will learn to respect your efforts and dead-on amazing cooking. Being yourself sometimes feels lonely, but in time you’ll find others who will support what you do and who you are.

What’s on your bucket list?
Dip a toe into some kind of food enterprise again. Write fiction, even comics. See more Latin America, especially Colombia, Peru, Chile and even back to Venezuela someday. Live in Barcelona. Throw bigger parties!

I am proud to be Latina because:
It’s who I am, so how could I not? Latinas are a remarkable fusion of peoples that’s recent in scope of human history but is a huge, diverse and emerging culture in this new century.

How do you get your Latin fix?
Reading cheeky news sites, my current favorite (besides LaCosmopolatina por puesto) is Guanabee. Reading comic books and newspapers in Español, flipping through Latin cookbooks and cooking blogs. And wandering around Jackson Heights in Queens, the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in the country and home to so many great Latin markets, bars and restaurants.

Spanglish, English, Spanish?
Mostly English with a touch of Spanglish when talking with the folks. Like a lot of 1st generationers my parents were trying to learn English when I was a baby so I didn’t get too much Spanish growing up, so I’m forever learning my second language.

My favorite Latina stereotype is:
Latin ladies are all high heels, lacy ruffles and red lipstick. Make mine combat boots, sleek black knits and dark plum lipgloss por favor.

Best advice from mami and/or abuelita:
Mamá always said don’t rely on a man to support you; learn to take care of yourself. She should have added this second important part: don’t pay a deadbeat boyfriend’s rent or waste any time with someone who doesn’t support you back. I’ve had a wonderful husband for many years who shares equally in things fiscal and emotional; it’s a great place to be.

Favorite home remedy:
Ginger tea for a bloated belly. Black beans and rice when hungry and need something comforting that won’t weight me down. Listening to hardcore punk or drum & bass when I need a caffeine-free pick-me-up!

[fun] ♦ [/fun]


[description]“Mamá always said don’t rely on a man to support you; learn to take care of yourself.”[/description]

1 Comment

  1. Asbel Perez /

    Hispanics today are so diverse, ( we are, Even Vegan ) that it is shocking. This is our time in the sun. Though I could never imagine a “noche buena” with out Cerdo, Yuca, Arroz con Frijoles Negro. We are setting a new standard for our children. A healthier one. So I have to admit, I have put down the pork chop and tried a Vegan dish. Dont tell my parents though!!!

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