My name is Patricia. I am the oldestof 8 children. I am 64 and have been cooking since I was a child. I remember standing on a chair to cook eggs in an iron skillet for my family. My passions are reading, cooking, gardening and getting off into the woods. I received a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook as a wedding gift and started cooking everything in it. I was making cream puffs and Danish pastry at age 19, and loving it. I was born and raised on a farm and our food was very simple. We also had to make do a lot, what with 10 people in the family and not much money. We gathered wild foods and to this day I love to go picking blackberries, and black raspberries, if I can find them. I can and freeze and make jam and jelly, and experiment with all different kinds of foods.
My favorite things to cook
Some of my best recipes are meatloaf, beef barley soup, braised oxtails, jellied pork loaf, greek salad, my mom's potato salad, country fried chicken, apple pie, braised lamb shanks, french bread, macaroni and cheese, smoked salmon spread... everything from scratch. The only things I use in the way of convenience foods are Bisquick and cream of mushroom soup. I LOVE to cook!
I also make quite a few authentic Mexican dishes, including posole, bistek ala Mexicana, tamales to name a few.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother made the best potato salad in the world. All our family loves it and anyone we serve it to adores it. One of the key ingredients is sliced radishes. Gotta have those. And green onions with the tops. Another thing my mom made is 'fried' chicken. She would roll it in seasoned flour and brown it in the skillet, then put it in a heavy covered dutch oven and into the oven. It cooked gently, stayed moist and juicy, and fell off the bones when we ate it. I remember one time she wrapped the dutch oven in newsapers and we went on a picnic to Maquoketa Caves. It stayed hot for several hours while we tramped around in the woods and through the caves. It was the most delicious chicken I ever ate. We also raised and butchered our own chickens and pigs. I can pluck, gut and cut up a chicken in record time. we picked wild fruits in our woods - apples, pears, berries and wild grapes. One year we had 100 quarts of canned blackberries. Mom made head cheese with a pig's head.
My cooking triumphs
My Morrocan chicken with cous-cous was a big hit. My apple pie is the favorite of my family-they request it a lot. I am very happy with my pork loaf, which I developed myself. I made braised oxtails for my friend and she was reluctant to try it. She loved them and now makes them herself. she also makes the jellied pork. She is an amazing cook herself and owned a restaurant. I once made hummus and ratatouille for a potluck at work. A young middle-eastern woman ate a lot of it. She said it was very authentic.
My cooking tragedies
I have several. One Christmas, I made 2 beautiful pumpkin pies and served it to my extended family after dinner. With real whipped cream, of course. It looked beautiful. Unfortunately, I had forgotton to put in the sugar! A few people ate it anyway but I did not. Yuck! Also, one time many years ago I made some oxtail soup and invited my girlfrend over to eat with us. Neither she nor my husband liked it at all. And I didn't much care for it either. It was very greasy. It was a long time before I tried oxtails again!