Elsie Ramos, one of two local cookbook authors whose upcoming personal appearances are featured today in Community Life, is part of a team of Latin celebrity chefs sponsored by the Hispanic housewares company IMUSA. Her cooking demonstration Sunday in Perth Amboy will use cookware that may not typically be found in an American kitchen, such as calderos, tamale pots, a tortilla maker and a stone mortar and pestle. All items in the IMUSA line are designed to create dishes popular with Hispanic cooks and chefs interested in experiencing the flavors of Hispanic cuisines.

One of Ramos’ favorite cookware pieces is her caldero. “I like it because it is made of cast aluminum, so it gets seasoned the more I use it,” she said of the deep pot that she uses for rice and beans, soups and roasts, as well as frying and browning. “It’s as personal as a baseball mitt is to a ballplayer.” Among the other cookware items in Ramos’ arsenal:

Comal, a round griddle used to warm tortillas, cook pancakes and sauté meats.

Molcajete, a Mexican stone tool that serves as a mortar and pestle for grinding various foods and which is considered essential for making guacamole.

Tamalera (or olla), a stock pot or sauce pot, primarily for making tamales. It can range in size from 12 to 21 quarts, but is not used for fried recipes. “The recipes I’ve developed and demonstrate are based on my worldview that in Latino culture, a home-cooked meal is the best way to say, ‘I love you’. I’ve used IMUSA all my life and think its quality is sometimes overlooked,” Ramos said.

Lois Heyman: 908-512-2731;

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