I have been married to my best friend for 16 years and we have eight amazing children. As a child, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandmother learning how to do some good old southern country cooking. When I married my husband, who is from Pennsylvania, I got lots of opportunities to show him how to really eat!! And as a big family, we love to eat. Our young'ns love to play at each other about the North and South differences in our house now, especially when it comes to food. It's all in fun and love anyway. I wound up learning quite a bit from his grandmother about what their family likes to cook too!
My favorite things to cook
I have to say the dishes I love to make the most are what I grew up on, dishes that are simple, but so filling and flavorful. Like ribs on the grill, chicken or pork chops with rice and gravy, my momma's stroganoff and a family dish we have that's called a la Bailey gravy and rice that's made with tomatoes and smoked sausage. It came from some old friends of my grandparents (their family name was Bailey!) Cornbread or biscuits are at almost every meal and winter time is bunches of collards and mustard green with pepper sauce. We make lots of chocolate desserts during the holidays, and then hummingbird and carrot cake at Easter that are really exceptional.
My favorite family cooking traditions
For a southern girl raised in traditional ways it has to be biscuits. My grandmother could make some serious biscuits that were unmatched. Now she isn't able to make them like she used to and I am thankful for the time that I spent with her and being able to pass that down to my daughters.
My cooking triumphs
Biscuits! And the wedding cake I made for my husband's cousin. It was the first time I had tried fondant and it turned out so much better than I thought it would. I made calla lillies from the fondant and put them around the cake and it was really pretty!
My cooking tragedies
I have had plenty, but I think the one that stands out is when I gave my cousin her baby shower. I made a cake of a baby sitting up out of rice crispy treats and fondant that turned out great, but I also wanted to impress my vegetarian uncle with a pasta from scratch theme for the main dishes. For the ravioli, I made plenty of pasta dough, rolled it out, used my new ravioli molds and filled them with a feta filling and layered them in a dish to carry and make right before the shower. When I took them out to cook, what a mess! All the moisture in them made them stick together and there was no way to fix it in the time I had. I just chopped them up, steamed them a little in a pan like chinese dumplings and poured the on the sauce. The ladies were very kind about their coments on the pasta, thank goodness!