When the Camacho-Babauta family moved from Agana Heights, they left a lot of delicious memories. Good cooking was a source of pride in their family. Uncle Jimmy Camacho was a chef for President Eisenhower in the White House. Another uncle (Joseph Camacho) was a chef for admirals in the Navy.
“Nearly all of my aunts and uncles on my mom’s side — Camacho family — were either cooks or chefs in restaurants or in the school systems in the island of Guam,” says Elaine Babauta. “None of them had any professional or official culinary training. All were taught by their parents with a passion to cook, and it was passed down by choice.”
Elaine and her siblings attended stateside colleges and started careers in the mainland. After several years, their parents, Jesus and Delfina Camacho Babauta, settled in San Diego to be closer to them. Their legacy of great family food and traditional gatherings could have ended there, but they didn’t let it.
In 2004, they realized that the San Diego Pacific Islander Festival did not have a Chamorro pastry or dessert vendor. They implored family members to share their recipes and bake their specialties. The grandchildren in the family helped by making the first homemade signs. The enterprise was a success from the beginning.
Since then, Elaine Babauta and family have leveraged their legacy and family values into a viable food business.
“We never ate out, growing up on Guam. We never wanted a restaurant,” she says. “Being at home to cook together and eat together is the foundation of the Guam, Chamorro family. My goal is to make that foundation anywhere.”
After a year of studying recipes and ways to package them, SweetStacks was launched with the family’s signature gourmet pancake and waffle mix for families to enjoy together in their homes.
Today, SweetStacks pancake and waffle mix is joined by gourmet blueberry pancake and waffle mix and Guam banana doughnut mix. They can be purchased on Guam at Pay-Less grocery stores and Kmart, as well as on the family’s website, www.SweetStacks.com.
The website features the products’ awards and rave customer reviews. There also is a section on recipes, provided by niece Alexis Y. Chan.
Next, SweetStacks aims to launch into the San Diego market and beyond. The company will be featured in the national Fancy Food Show in early 2016.
The delicious family memories continue to be cooked up.
“Celebrating where we are and going back to our roots, no matter where we are,” Babauta says.
Pick up a bag of the mix and try out the tasty recipe below.
Carrot Cake Waffles
2 cups SweetStacks mix
1 cup milk
6 tablespoons oil
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup corn starch
2-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cup raisins (optional)
1-1/3 cups grated carrots
Preheat waffle iron. In a large mixing bowl, make full batch of SweetStacks Pancake and Waffle Mix according to directions, then stir in the rest of the ingredients.
Pour into waffle iron. Waffles take around 3-4 minutes to make, but vary with waffle iron.
Sandy Flores Uslander For Pacific Sunday News
Sandy Flores Uslander lives in San Diego and promotes Chamorro culture. Reach her at www.GoIsland.net.
Here is the link to Sandy’s article in the GUAM Pacific Daily News: http://www.guampdn.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2015304120011
Si yu’us ma’ase to Sandy for writing about our family’s passion for food and spending time together.