My name is Cindy, and I'm an American living in England with my English husband and our two dogs. When I first moved to England, following British recipes was very confusing due to the fact that ingredients are measured both in metric weight/volume. No "cups" or measuring spoons for this country!
Thankfully I brought over my much-loved measuring cups and spoons and am able to use this website to make all my favorite dishes. I now cook recipes using either metric or U.S. measuring standards, but of course I usually opt for the familiar methods.
Thanks to allrecipes.com, I have had a lot of fun introducing my husband and our English friends to many of the traditional American dishes. Christmas is always a nice blend of the two cultures in our house. Parsnips and Yorkshire Pudding at Christmas?! Who would have thought? :-)
My favorite things to cook
Being vegetarian, I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting veggie meals. My husband recently became vegetarian, too, so now I'm having even more fun finding dishes we can share.
There aren't really any good Mexican restaurants nearby, so this has forced me to try and re-create all my favorites. I love cooking enchiladas, burritos, fajitas, and making my specialty - tofu tacos with my homemade pico de gallo! Heaven!
My favorite family cooking traditions
I have fond memories of my grandmother and I baking Christmas cookies together when I was a little girl. My grandmother is such a great cook – always very experimental and creative with her recipes. She would never just serve a fruit salad in a regular serving bowl. It had to be served in a giant watermelon carved into the shape of a fruit basket! Even today at 83, my grandmother still bakes her Christmas cookies each year!
One thing I now make at Thanksgiving and Christmas are my grandmother's sweet potatoes. The recipe was passed down to her from my great-grandmother. She would cut oranges in half (with a pretty scalloped edge) and then scoop out the insides and fill the empty orange cups with a yummy sweet potato filling, topping each one with a pecan. I make my own version of this recipe, but they are never as good as the ones my grandma made!
My cooking triumphs
Being that I am always up for a challenge, I attempted to cook a full American Thanksgiving meal (with all the trimmings, and then some) for 20+ English friends who had never experienced a single Thanksgiving meal in their lives! Talk about pressure! Each dish was met with the question "is this what ALL Americans eat for Thanksgiving?" I had to get it just right!
Thankfully the evening was a huge hit! The standard sweet potatoes with marshmallows were met with a few suspicious looks ("Marshmallows on top of a vegetable? How strange!") But after my brave English friends gave these new dishes a try, they all gave rave reviews. Phew!
My cooking tragedies
My Fourth of July party in England didn’t go as well. The recipes were classic Fourth of July fare: potato salad, coleslaw, spinach dip, etc
So I set up a buffet table with the full spread I had spent days preparing, and invited our English guests to dig in. But they barely ate anything! My huge vat of potato salad got only one scoop taken out of it. The BLT dip (that my husband loves) went completely untouched.
The only thing people did eat at this party were the burgers my husband effortlessly threw on the grill!
I guess the lesson is to know who you’re cooking for. My guests were from a different culture and weren’t used to the "classics" we take for granted. This party taught me a lesson about cooking: Just because someone doesn't like the food you've prepared doesn't mean you didn't do a GREAT job and are not a fantastic cook! (At least that's what I told myself as I was throwing away gallons and gallons of wasted food!) Oh well. There's always next year!