I've been cooking my whole life, it seems. Mom always said that with 4 kids, it was easier to teach us to help in the kitchen since we were going to be in there underfoot anyway. Besides cooking at home, I was also involved in 4H in a suburban club. My parents were 4H leaders and I was in all of the cooking, sewing and needlework groups. My brothers also raised rabbits so I helped with those as well. I grew up on a small orchard and we always had a big garden to tend as well. It seems we spent most of the summer canning, freezing and drying all of the fruits and veggies that we grew. I also entered lots of baked goods and my canning in the county fair. As one of my careers, I worked in a small restaurant/bakery where I worked as part time line cook and part time baker. I also worked as a cook at a summer church camp while I was going to college, where I cooked for 100 to 130 kids and counselors each week.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake all kinds of things but I am most famous for my muffins and breads. I also love to try to make my own Chinese foods and I am getting really good at stir fries and egg fu yung.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I like to bake several different types of cookies each year at Christmas to honor my grandmothers, who have passed on. For my Norwegian grandmother, I always make Spritz and for my other one from the Ukraine, I make Russian Tea Cakes. I also make several other kinds of cookies, fruit breads and fudge and I like to give cookie trays to friends and neighbors.
My cooking triumphs
I cooked my first full turkey dinner at the age of twelve. We were building a new house one summer and we had a framing crew up to frame the new place. Both my folks were working so I had to cook for everyone. I did a full turkey dinner, including pies for 20 people. Also, one year, I took part in a 4H bread baking competition at the county fair, placed first and got to go to the state fair, where I took a blue ribbon.
My cooking tragedies
Grabbing the wrong spice tin off the shelf once and adding cinnamon to the gravy instead of black pepper - interesting flavor but not one I would like to repeat. I also set fire to the wok once - luckily the lid was handy and no one was blocking the path to the driveway! No damage to the house or me but the wok needed a good scrubbing afterwards. Morale to that story - never turn your back on the wok after you add oil to the pan.