Melbourne: Eva Longoria, who’s cookbook has proved that she is no flash in the pan when it comes to serving up delicious food, has revealed that foodstuff and cooking are comforting to her.
The actress’ toned physique may have adorned many a teenage boy’s bedroom walls but, despite appearances, she doesn’t dedicate her life to dieting.
In fact, she has a passion for food that runs so deep, she’s made a career out of it.
The co-owner of two Latin-style restaurants, Beso in LA and Las Vegas, with acclaimed chef Todd English, the 37-year-old credits her Mexican upbringing with giving her a love of food.
She is also the author of ‘Eva’s Kitchen: Cooking with Love for Family and Friends’.
“I love to cook,” News.com.au quoted her as saying.
“When you walk into my house, you know I’m a person who cooks; I collect platters and pots and pans, and there’s always food in my house,” she said.
Reminiscing about the time she pulled a roast chicken out of the oven for her family while wearing a Gucci dress and a full face of make-up, before dashing to a red-carpet event, she lives by the mantra “Family first, acting second”.
Longoria’s long entrenched love of cooking, teamed with the Mexican tradition of compiling family recipes for new brides, were the inspiration for Eva’s Kitchen.
Part cookbook, part memoir, it features 100 of the star’s favourite dishes, which have all been passed down from generation to generation.
It took about a year to write the book, because I’m a cook - a dash of this, a pinch of that - not a chef.
“The memories weren’t hard to recall. It was the testing of the ingredients that had to be precise, since I don’t [normally] measure anything,” she said.
Although her Mexican heritage features strongly in her cookbook, Longoria`s travels to Europe and around the US have heavily influenced her cooking style. “I can make just about anything,” she boasts. “I always say, If you can read, you can cook.”
The 37-year-old, who was raised on a ranch in Corpus Christi, in the deep south of Texas, credits her parents, Enrique and Ella, with teaching her the importance of growing fresh fruit and vegetables.
From making her first meal - a fried egg - at the age of six to being able to catch, gut and fillet a fish at the age of seven, the actor has grown up with a healthy relationship with food.
“On my way to school, I’d pick an orange from our tree or carrots from the ground and bring it with me for a snack.
“This really gave me a great respect for where food came from,” she said.
Reared on a diet of chicken, fish and vegetables, the pint-size star is a “meal person” and doesn`t have a sweet tooth. She also prefers to be in the kitchen making her own food rather than eating out.
“I find it a little healthier to cook at home.
In this fast-food world we live in, I think it`s important to be aware of what’s going into your body. You have more control over that when you’re the one putting [the food] together,” Longoria said.
Following the break-up of her three-year marriage to basketballer Tony Parker in 2010, amid rumours he’d cheated on her, Longoria entered the “unhealthiest place” she’s ever been, with her weight plummeting.
To get herself through it, she went back to her roots - finding solace in the kitchen.
“I’ve cooked my entire life.
“Food is comforting to me. I enjoy being alone in the kitchen more than anything else. It’s a place of happiness and it’s helped me through many hard times,” she said.
Indeed, just a month after her divorce, Longoria was seen out and about looking healthy again, and in February last year she started dating Penelope Cruz’ younger brother, Eduardo.