Eva Longoria says 'having a breadbasket was a privilege growing up': Store-bought crescent rolls were 'for fancy times'

Eva Longoria says some of her happiest food memories involve making tamales with her family. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)
Eva Longoria says some of her happiest food memories involve making tamales with her family. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

Because food connects us all, Yahoo Life is serving up a heaping plateful of table talk with people who are passionate about what's on their menu in Deglazed, a series about food.

Eva Longoria is a world-renowned actress, producer and activist but off-screen, the philanthropist and social media superstar has a simple tradition with her husband and son that's one of the most important parts of her day.

"Eating together," she tells Yahoo Life. "We have breakfast, lunch and dinner together. Meals are really the center of our family traditions, that's where everything happens — conversations, catching up and family time."

And, while the family enjoys anything they're eating as long as they're spending time together, their favorite type of food is steeped in the rich traditions of their family and community.

"[We eat] mostly Mexican because we are Mexican," she says. "We'll have Taco Tuesday every day of the week."

"I make a lot of Mexican food," she admits. "We are definitely fans of our own cuisine."

Longoria says Mexican food is the only UNESCO-protected cuisine. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is an organization that builds peace through international cooperation in education, sciences and culture. In 2010, UNESCO added Mexican cuisine to its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, meaning it is committed to protecting and preserving Mexican culinary traditions for future generations.

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Longoria, who hails from Corpus Christi, Tex., grew up surrounded by Mexican culture and food, which she has a passion for eating and cooking, especially with the help of her 4-year-old son, Santiago.

"I'm not precious about him in the kitchen. I really love for him to get in there," says Longoria. "We cook a lot — I've always wanted Santi to know how to cook, so I started him really young."

So what are Santi's jobs in Mom's kitchen? "Helping to cut stuff, throwing flour everywhere, getting dirty, getting his hands in the cookie dough," says Longoria."I really love for him to fully experience everything."

Cooking with her son is not just a fun activity for the two to share. Longoria is passionate about passing a love for spending time together and crafting a meal to the next generation, starting in her own home.

The 47-year-old actress shares that during the Christmas holiday season, the whole family gets in on getting dinner to the table. "One of my happiest things I cook is tamales at Christmas time," she says, "because you need an assembly line of aunts and cousins to do it."

"We do it and we make the tamales and then you eat them," she continues. "It's so much work and so much time, but when you unwrap them there's just this satisfaction of We all made this. So for me, tamales put me in the best mood."

In addition to tamales, Longoria shares another family tradition during special occasions was the all-important basket of fresh bread, passed around the dinner table. "Crescent rolls were a big thing," she says, "and they were like, for fancy times, like Thanksgiving or payday."

"Having a breadbasket full of crescent rolls was a privilege growing up," adds Longoria, who spoke to Yahoo Life on behalf of her recent partnership with Pillsbury. "And, for me, I've always had this beautiful memory of Pillsbury in my childhood. I remember the commercial, pushing the belly of the Pillsbury dough boy, all of it."

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Longoria worked with the 51st Pillsbury "Ovens Off" Bake-Off contest, which accepted entries this summer. For the first time ever, the Bake-Off asked entrants to turn off their ovens and create dishes using appliances like air fryers, grills and waffle irons. This year's winner was a Greek-inspired nachos recipe, made in an air fryer by Ohio resident Lori McKenna. For winning, McKenna will both receive $50,000 and have $50,000 donated on her behalf by General Mills to No Kid Hungry, a charity she chose.

"They've done it for 51 years, but this time they wanted to do it with a fun new twist — the oven stays off," says Longoria of the Bake-Off. "We challenged home cooks to turn off the oven and whip up their favorite dish."

Longoria even submitted two recipes of her own to the contest.

"I grew up with the crescent roll in my fridge and I love Mexican food, so I thought, what can I do?" she says. "I did crescent roll quesadilla pockets in the air fryer, a really easy recipe."

For her second recipe, she took inspiration from her son and one of his favorite foods — waffles. "Santi is a big fan of waffles," she says. "My second-favorite [Pillsbury product] is the cinnamon roll, I love how it smells up the entire house like you've been baking for hours, so I do cinnamon roll waffles with this cream cheese glaze, and I make it on the waffle iron."

In addition to classic favorites cooked at home, Longoria cherishes her travels, where she can explore foods from around the globe.

"I love all cuisines," she says."I'm like a foodie of the world."

"What I love about other cultures and countries is that food is such a big part of that celebration of who they are, and it's the easiest way into a culture — to experience the food."

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