I was born and raised in Friend, Nebraska and I come from a family of cooks. My mother is a divine cook. She taught me almost everything I know. My mother, my grandmother, my Aunt Vera, my Aunt Sylvia, and my mother's best friend Judy are all of my cooking muses. I consult them frequently. I am writing a cookbook for charity right now and that is taking up most of my time. It will benefit a women's shelter in Newark, NJ.
My favorite things to cook
I tend to use my oven a lot more than the top of the stove. I am only 29 but I am very old-fashioned in the way that I cook or bake. I like to roast things for several hours/I never use things like margarine in place of butter, I don't cut back on salt/fat, etc... Also, my ethnic heritage is Czechoslovakian-American and thus I make a lot of cesky food when time permits (roast pork with sourkraut and dumplings, etc..).
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family is almost always cooking something. We eat together every single Sunday, rain or shine. We always have a wonderful meal of roasted meats and vegetables and beautiful baked goods at the end. We are very keen on eating very fresh vegetables out of the garden all summer--often we eat a meal of homemade bread with tomatoes and cucumber salad only.
My cooking triumphs
My biggest triumph was when I had a bake sale to raise money for my employer's AIDS Walk team that was going to march in New York City. We were trying to raise funds so I decided to pitch in and have a bake sale. I didn't think I would get that many orders but I ended up baking over 1000 muffins, over 800 cupcakes, and over 80 loaves of bread! It took me almost 3 months to get everything baked. We did raise over 1000 dollars for the team so it was all worth it.
My cooking tragedies
When I was about 9 years old, I wanted to bake a batch of cupcakes. I saw something in the cupboard that looked like sugar so I assumed that it must BE sugar. It was salt. : ( Another tragic episode during my formative years was the day that I learned that you can not transport a two-layer birthday cake on a bicycle.