Updated: Feb 23
Let's start at the beginning. I was born and raised in California. I have never lived in any other state. I was born four days before Christmas in 1982. My parents got married in 1978 and have been ever since. I have two sisters and 1 brother. I became an auntie when I was 9. I have always been in the kitchen. I can remember always asking my mom to watch her cook. Then I turned 7 and I can remember chopping vegetables for holiday meals. Then the following year I started cooking breakfast. Scrambling eggs and making toast.
When I was 9 I can remember that's when I started cooking dinner every night. And this is where I found my biggest food critic. My father was born and raised in Louisiana. He taught me how to fry chicken and make rice. Two things my mom does not do. Can she, we will never know. One thing I learned about my dad, he is very particular about his food. I remember the first meal I ever cooked all by myself. I thought this was the best meal ever created. It was undercooked and burned chicken thighs. Mushy, gummy rice and mushy overcooked canned vegetables. I bring the plate to my dad waiting for all the accolades I thought I deserved for such a delicious meal. Boy was I mistaken, he called it nasty(and other things I probably blocked out).
But I learned a lot from that day and that meal. My dad cooked for a few days(I guess he wasn't willing to test his stomach again). The next meal I made was spaghetti. My mom called me from work and walked me through the recipe. I can remember draining the meat and calling my mom back for the next step. From that dinner on I took over the kitchen. I can remember coming inside an hour or two before my siblings. We grew up in the generation where you went outside. From when you finished your homework until the street lights came on. I would come in early to start dinner.
As I grew more and more comfortable in the kitchen. I started taking over more duties. When I was 12 I started grocery shopping. This is when I started writing my own recipes. I would see something on tv I wanted to try and I would figure it out. This was before google so I had to figure it out. I got very good at figuring out how to make new things. My favorite example is my first time making carnitas. It was a accident. The roast was wet so I fried it. Not knowing that is how carnitas is made.
By the time I was 17, cooking was no longer a chore, I enjoyed it. I loved making new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. This is also when my love for sweets developed. After I graduated from high school, I stupidly went to university. And no, I am not saying university is stupid. I should have went to culinary school. Kids follow your first mind. It doesn't matter if your mom likes it our not. It matters if you like it. After going to university for a year i got home sick, and came home. While I was in school I had become the dorm room cook. i mean of course i would. By this time food became my life.
I spent the next years floating around, working menial jobs, helping take care of my family. Then when I was 28 I went to culinary school. The next move in my life was made possible by my little sister Jamy. She helped me so I could go to school. While in school I really honed my skills and love for cooking. While in school I maintained a B+ average (even through personal tragedy[death of 3 family members through the course of 1 school year]). The chefs were hard on us. But noboby was harder on me than my father, Remember he was and still is my biggest food critic. I went to Riverside City College Culinary Academy, it was the best time of my life. I learned some much about food. I also received 3 awards during my time in Culinary school.
RCCCA has two food competitions during the year of enrollment. One was called the cold food competition where you got in agroup of 4 and made a meal out of gelatin. Each teammate made a portion of the meal. My team won gold. Only three metals were awarded and my team got gold. The other competition we had was a hot foods competition. This competition was a head to head competition. We had to make a full meal. Entree, side, vegetable and dessert. The only rule was we had to use a chicken breast as our protein. I used my deep southern roots mixed with modern techniques. My menu was a stuffed chicken breast on a bed of mashed red potatoes, with gravy of course. I made collard greens as my vegetable and my dessert was a sweet potato mousse. We had to set the table. I used white plates lined with gold trim, a larger gold plate underneath it. A white table cloth. It was elegant. There was only three metals and I won bronze, out of a class of 20+ students. The third award was a complete shock. During the course of the class we had to take cake decorating and dessert classes with a dessert chef. Unbeknownst to us there was a plague to be given at the end to 2 people. I ended up being one of those people. To say I was shocked is an understatement.
After culinary school I got a job as a personal chef. It was around this time I almost lost my mother. She had three strokes. So my siblings and I took turns taking care of her and then she got better. At this point I was still just Eryn Nelson, a culinary school graduate who was working on recipes. I catered parties and made cakes for birthdays. Then in 2014 I met my husband and once I got married I became Mama Eryn CC. I had two babies and adopted(not legally because they are all grown) five more. I also took in my brother in law. Him I adopted. My husband is a little bit older than me so his kids were older. They didn't want to call me Eryn, so they came up with Mama Eryn. Adding the CC was another aspect of my life. i have always cooked, wrote recipes and made birthday cakes. Putting them all together and making it a business came from my husband always telling me my food should be in a restaurant and my middle son calling me Mama Eryn and saying that should be my business name. I tried many and none of them stuck like Mama Eryn CC. What does CC stand for? It stands for many things, one being the name for my subscribers creative culinarians because we are all creative and I will help you be a culinarian. It also stands for my catering company Comfort Catering.
My life had it's ups and downs, all of this lead to me becoming who I am. At this time I have been cooking more than 3/4 of my life. My biggest food critic has now become my biggest advocate. I now fry chicken like his family in Louisiana(particularly his sister). My desserts rival any store. I am a wife and mother. I spend most of my time writing recipes and watching cooking videos trying to recreate the recipe by ingredients only. I plan on opening a restaurant in the future and selling cookbooks so everyone can discover these beautiful recipes.