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. Living in the Kansas City metro, good Asian groceries are fairly easy to find. I like to make Korean style tofu with vegetables and gochuzang (hot red pepper paste). I eat very little meat -- rarely chicken, and wild game if I'm lucky -- which I grind myself for spaghetti sauce, homemade sausage and chili. I eat fish like salmon, tilapia and catfish made various ways. I cook vegan often, and enjoy incorporating Indian, Asian, and Mediterranean cooking styles into vegan entrees.
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. Six times a year I am head of a team from my church that cooks for and serves around 350 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 overseeing the dishing up of the fruit, desserts and bread, entree and vegetables 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.