I taught English at the local college for twenty years and I live in the country - the best of all worlds. I have a large family and now two great grandchildren. My family is diverse so I enjoy both the international perspectives and the rural home life under one roof. Cooking for a large family gathering is one of the greatest joys of my life.
My favorite things to cook
Growing up in the country has influenced my cooking choices. I want to be able to taste the food and not be overwhelmed by the spices so I prefer basic foods that are accented by a distinguishable spice or flavoring. I'm a meat and vegetable type of cook and use potatoes/rice/pasta more as a side dish. I especially enjoy a good soup with a well-crafted salad or sandwich as a cold-weather meal.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family prefers organically raised food so our large garden supplies as much of our food as possible. Preserving food by canning and dehydrating is a family tradition. We cook without chemically altered food products as much as we can. We enjoy challenging each other to find the ultimate all-natural recipe of the month. If it is cooked in a cast iron pan, it is even better!
My cooking triumphs
My signature recipes are mostly meat and vege type recipes. I bake my own bread with the European texture I grew up on. I also make pies that are based on the pies my grandmother made. I like to artfully arrange what I cook because I believe a good meal should be aesthetically pleasing as well as nutritional.
My cooking tragedies
It took me forever to make good gravy and I'm still working on the perfect baking powder biscuit. I don't bake a lot of sweets so am limited to pies and cookies. I love to make cake from scratch, but the results are mixed if I am in a hurry. Even so, everyone seems to enjoy it. I won't feel I have reached perfection until I can cook as well as I remember my grandmother could cook.