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My family!

Growing up in a traditional Hmong house, cheese was not a part of our diet.  Mom cooked rice, simple soups, meat and vegetables.  The truth is that it was Dad who was the cook.  He was more creative and experimental, and Mom stuck to the traditional Hmong food.  Some of you might be wondering, what is Hmong food? Well, quick story is that the Hmong are from the mountains of Southeast Asia, and our staple food is white rice, which is usually eaten with a variety of vegetables and boiled or fried meat.  You can see how cheese doesn’t fall on the menu.

It wasn’t until I got older that the kids took control of the kitchen and started to introduce the ‘American’ dishes that we loved to the rest of the family. When I say kids, I mean my mom gave birth to eight of us.  With me as the eldest pioneering us into this new world of food, we have had our fair share of hits and misses.  In the beginning we just started to insert some different dishes into our meals and then we graduated into having full on different cuisine meals.  My parents would attempt to try them all, but mom was always more hesitant with the dishes that contained cheese. It was just too different from her usual foods.

I am happy to say that after years of trial, we finally succeeded in creating a dish that mom loves and has requested again and again.  With new additions such as my brother-in-laws, sister-in-law and nieces, it is always a party when we all get together and we have had a lot of fun with this recipe.

Here’s the recipe to my mom’s favorite cheese dish!

Chicken Hawaiian Pizza


  • Tillamook’s Mozzarella
  • Tillamook’s World’s Best Medium Cheddar
  • Grilled chicken
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Tomato paste

Pizza crust:

  • English muffins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Place the English muffin halves cut side up onto a baking sheet. Spoon some of the pizza sauce onto each one. Top with the cheeses and toppings. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the cheese is melted and browned on the edges. Enjoy!!!

How have you introduced cheese to other people? I’d love to hear about it!

Happy Mother’s Day to you all and happy cooking!

-Pepper Corny Pakou, follow me on Twitter @peppercornypaku

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