I started cooking at a young age and have had great experiences travelling and studying food around the world. I enjoy searching out new things and trying to find the "best of" my family and friends' favorite foods.
My favorite things to cook
I try to shop as much as I can at farmers markets. I really enjoy cooking with fresh, wholesome, local ingredients and I love exploring the products made by specialty meat, cheese, oil, vinegar, and wine producers both locally and from farther afield.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family has solid German and Scottish roots. The traditions coming out of my grandmother's kitchen are for hearty, frugal dishes: pot roasts, chicken and dumplings, rouladen, and Friday fish dinners are what I remember most.
My cooking triumphs
My mother was very sick one Christmas when I was still in gradeschool, probably 12 years old or so. We had the whole family (about 45 relatives) coming over for dinner and I told my Mom I would take care of it. For two days, I worked and cooked - running upstairs to ask Mom what to do next, then coming down to whip potatoes, make stuffing, prepare the molded salad, and dress the crown roast of pork for the holiday dinner. It all came out right, nothing was ruined and everyone ate well. I will always remember how good it felt to make my Mom and family so happy and proud. That is what really hooked me on cooking.
My cooking tragedies
As a young cook, I often would try to make things before I read a recipe or really understood the chemistry of the cooking or baking task. I once made the most wretched pot pie - a lard crust, undercooked gravy instead of white sauce, frozen peas as the only vegetable, turkey from a holiday that was probably a few days too old to eat. I served it to my sisters - it tasted horrible and gave us all upset stomachs. Thankfully, they have forgiven me and continue to support my cooking adventures.