I learned to cook from my mother. She always let me hang around and help in the kitchen. When she died I inherited her recipe box and cookbooks. I now collect cookbooks. I currently live in Clearwater, Florida with my husband John, our son Jimmy, and our 2 dogs, Snoopy the Miniature Schnauzer and Smoke the Chihuahua. I got seriously passionate about cooking when I was working a temporary job typesetting recipes. I usually used to be found in the kitchen on weekends making cakes or cookies but with a toddler around and trying to "help" it's getting harder. I love to try out new recipes on my husband. So far I haven't had any complaints! I am constantly expanding my cooking horizons and getting better all the time.
My favorite things to cook
I love to make cakes, cookies and main dishes. I have several recipes I inherited from my mother. I am always thrilled when something I cook tastes just like Mom's. I'm always ready to try something new for dinner, especially if I can have leftovers! I also love to use my crockpots (yes, I have 2!). I have recently become brave enough to make my own recipes; when I eat something really good I like to try to duplicate it in my kitchen. I am also quite good at making pan gravy from chicken, turkey or a roast.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Christmas was always the big baking time around my house. My mother made applesauce cakes and gave them to friends as gifts. And mine turned out just like hers...on the second try. She also made Dutch cookies called Jan Hagels, a bar cookie that is topped with slivered almonds. On Christmas Eve we would always have shrimp in between church services (we sang in the choir together) with homemade cocktail sauce. The poor shrimp didn't stand a chance! Ham was always on the menu for New Year's and Easter. Even though Mom is gone I am still carrying on many of her holiday traditions with my family and creating new ones, both in and out of the kitchen.
My cooking triumphs
I recently tried to duplicate a recipe for a chicken cordon bleu pizza a friend brought over. I did it and I think mine tastes better!
My cooking tragedies
There have been many...like the cake frosting that looked like mustard instead of being a nice yellow, the applesauce cakes that burned because I made them in loaf pans instead of a tube pan, and the paella that stunk up the house so bad we had to open all the windows and leave (and it didn't taste that good). I've had a lot more disasters to learn from but it's helped make me a better cook.