I was born in 1961 in Arlington, Virginia. I grew up in Maryland near the Chesapeake Bay, and enjoyed boating, fishing and horseback riding as a child. I attended the University of Maryland and received a B.S. in Agriculture and Natural Resources Management. After that, I went to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, where I became an expert in cow poop. I have lived in North Carolina, Florida, Idaho, Wyoming and Vermont, and now I am retired and I live with my cats and dogs in (mostly) sunny Kansas City, Kansas.
My favorite things to cook
I am a great fan of Asian cooking, particularly Korean cuisine. There are enough Korean people in this area that good Korean groceries are fairly easy to find. I like to make Korean style pork and cuttlefish (squid) with vegetables and gochuzang (hot red pepper paste). I love all kinds of pasta and noodles, so Asian noodles are often on the menu. I also frequently make old standbys like spaghetti and meat sauce, and macaroni and cheese but NEVER out of a can or box! I had a gastric bypass in 2003, so high-protein foods are a must for me. I use tofu as often as possible, and I put it in everything from hummus to scrambled eggs to Asian dishes, and use it as a low-fat meat extender often.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My parents were from New England, so hearty stews were on the table often when I was growing up. My mother also had a flair for making homemade pizza, and during football season it was a family tradition to have homemade pizza, a fire in the fireplace and the game on TV. At Christmas time my mother would make tons of amazing cookies. My favorites were her dark chocolate rum balls, which were rolled in confectioner's sugar. She also would make Guard's Trifle on special occasions. She was very gifted in the kitchen and mastered cheese and chocolate souffles. My dad really loved a lot of different cuisines, but his cooking ability was limited to his very fine omelettes.
My cooking triumphs
I have never learned to cook for one, and I like nothing better than cooking for a crowd. I love putting together church dinners, receptions and parties. Every other month I am head of a team from my church that cooks for and serves between 300 and 400 people at a food kitchen in Kansas City, Kansas. I'm responsible for planning the menu, purchasing the food, directing the cooking and assembly of the meals at the church, and the dishing up of the fruit, desserts and bread and serving the entree at the food kitchen. It's wonderful how a hot meal can put a smile on the face of someone who is hungry and homeless.
My cooking tragedies
I've had my share of inedible flops! My worst was probably when I was trying to impress my former boyfriend's best friend with some of my fabulous chili. I had a few too many cocktails while preparing the meal, and I scorched the tomato sauce. I decided to add a few more tomatoes in hopes that it would disguise the charcoal flavor, and in the process I nearly cut off my thumb. This was in 1987 and I still have a visible scar and no sensation in the tip of my thumb. The chili was still inedible. (P.S. That's *not* why he's my *former* boyfriend...)