A Vacation To Remember Or Why Did I Ever Come Back ? - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at Allrecipes.com - 228940

Swampy's Kitchen

A Vacation To Remember or Why Did I Ever Come Back ? 
Mar. 25, 2011 11:40 am 
Updated: Apr. 4, 2011 5:54 am
I feel like it's been a while since I wrote anything and that is probably because in my mind I am still on vacation. Nine days in Maui can have that effect. It could also be that like always, I have very little of value to say. So let's throw some Jake Shimabukuro on my iPod and see what comes out of my thumbs as I ride the rails.

Yes I was in for the Tsunami but it really was a non-event for us. We were without water for a few hours and the beach was closed for a day. Pretty trivial when compared to the devastation in . I found the "I survived the Tsunami" t-shirts that popped up around the island to be in particularly bad taste. I did get a kick out of the Tsunami Evacuation Plan shirts. They said "Grab Beer & Run !"

I bought some new hot sauces for my hellacious wall of spice. I got a Fresno Coconut Sauce that delivers a smooth heat that builds and a Pineapple Lime Habanero Sauce that EXPLODES in the back of your throat after the hint of citrus dances across your tongue. I can't wait to try it in my next batch of fish tacos. Come to think of it,  I have added so much to my hellacious wall of spice in the last few months that I am going to have to update my youtube video of it. 

Backing up a second, I used to think that Alexander's had the best fish tacos but then I had the fish taco at Fred's. Both use Mahi Mahi but Fred's uses thick filet chunks. Is their a better fish for a taco than mahi mahi ? I don't think so. 

And speaking of Fred's, my daughter had a Dude vs Food rematch with the One Pound Carnitas Burrito that bested her last year. Her appetite is bigger but she still couldn't get the job done and the white flag of gustatory shame was waved. Maybe next time.

It took two days of lying on a beach chair for the sun to leech all the stress & toxins out of my body before they were replaced by the Hawaiian spirit of Shaka. Now I can feel those same toxins from work, my commute & in general trying to take back over. The snow & cold weather aren't helping the cause. It also didn’t help that after 9 days of wearing nothing but t-shirts & shorts, I had to start wearing suits & ties again. I did fight back so to speak in my own way in that every day this week I wore a different vacation themed tie. Monday it was cocktail glasses & pink parasols, on Tuesday it was beach chairs, on Wednesday it was sea horses and yesterday it was coconuts & palm trees. Today is casual day at work but they said no to my Hawaiian shirt. After seeing the pictures of myself in said Hawaiian shirt from the luau, I should probably say no to the Hawaiian shirt too.

We went whale watching one calm afternoon a few days after the tsunami. We got to see a baby whale breaching over & over again. The mother even rolled onto her back and waved her flippers in a clapping motion after one particularly big jump by her baby. The skipper dropped a microphone into the water and we got to hear the whales singing to each other. It made us all realize that Dori in Finding Nemo couldn't speak whale at all.

Speaking of fish, we went to the on our last day. The admission price is sky high and the exhibits are limited but you are supporting a good cause. Unfortunately, one of our kids, once again, came down with some funky virus after visiting an aquarium so we think this is probably the last one we visit for a while. I did like checking out the Hammerhead Sharks.

I learned during a visit to the Maui Tropical Plantation that if you drink bad or cloudy water from a coconut that you will get the runs and you will get them badly. I will have to remember that for when I finally figure out a way to have my mortgage pay itself so I can go on Survivor. I would smile as I watched my opponent drink it too.

I have a confession to make. I am a t-shirt-a-holic whenever I travel and my wife is an enabler. I only packed four t-shirts for a 9 day trip because I knew I was going to buy a few shirts along the way. My bag was pretty well packed upon my return. The only new shirt that I didn’t wear while on the island was an original dirt shirt that needed to be washed twice before it could be worn. As an aside, anybody want to guess what my wife had to say about my dirt shirt after she ran it through the washing machine the first time and please remember, this is a family blog.

Breakfast may have been my favorite meal of the day since our hotel had a pretty extensive breakfast buffet. There were Eggs Benedict with Mango Hollandaise, Macadamia Pancakes with Coconut Syrup, Pineapple Blintzes, fresh fruit out the wazoo and more. It was easy to see why some dude named Ahab tried to poke me with a sharp stick on the beach the first morning. Come to think of it, it may also be why Greenpeace kept hovering around when I was body surfing.

Speaking of surfing, we did go out to Ho’okipa Point along the north shore near Paia to watch the surfers but the beach was closed that day. We had to settle for watching kite surfers & wind surfers play offshore while giant sea turtles floated in around the smaller waves closer to shore. I almost killed the battery in my camera getting pictures of it all. It’s not easy to time that perfect wave.

Back to breakfast for a second if you don’t mind. When we finally made it back to NJ, I tried to make a breakfast that would make us feel a little like we were still in so I made banana pancakes. Which then led to banana blueberry pancakes and almost led to strawberry banana pancakes. That possible combination then got expounded upon and became a strawberry banana pancake made with coconut milk and topped with pineapple syrup & whipped cream. Should I ever open my diner someday, I guarantee that you will see the “Smoothie on a Plate” on the menu. You will see my alligator chili too. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iSSK1zFASAI< ) *cheap plug*

We may have had the ugliest rental car on the island. My daughter picked out a silver gray Dodge Nitro that almost made a shoebox look sleek by comparison. The birds in the valet parking area of our hotel didn’t seem to like it much either. By the time we turned it in, it looked a like a leopard.

All in all, I would have to say that as good as last year’s family trip to was, this year’s version was even better. As a family we laughed, played, explored,  ate & shopped and ate & shopped and ate & shopped. We also learned that while Aloha means not only Hello but also Goodbye, the phrase that best fit our trip as we said goodbye to our friends and to was really “A Hui Ho” which roughly means “Until we meet again”.

And that’s all for now from Swampy's kitchen….A Hui Ho !
Chef Caty gets ready for Dude vs Food
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Chef Caty waves the white flag of shame
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My Dinner at Fred's
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Kalua Pig from the Luau
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My Luau Plate
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Ho'okipa Point
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The view from my beach chair
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A Hui Ho
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Mar. 25, 2011 11:56 am
Sounds like fun! Your daughter put a good dent in that burrito! :)
Mar. 25, 2011 12:00 pm
She tried Alex - there was a lot of heavy wet spicy tortilla left - maybe she will win next time
Mar. 25, 2011 12:04 pm
Great blog! Is that Fred's Mexican Cafe that you went to? We love that place, there are two of them within a few miles of our home in Southern California. There is another Mexican place nearby my home that was just featured on Man vs. Food that I want to check out. I haven't been to Hawaii in 7 years, but I remember us picking up a dirt shirt!
Mar. 25, 2011 12:15 pm
Thanks MSC - It is Fred's Mexican - the one in Kihei - I saw on the menu that there were a couple of them out your way. I think my wife has already banned the dirt shirt. She told me to wash it in the rain next time.
Mar. 25, 2011 12:24 pm
Great blog Doug! Almost made us feel we were on the island with you! Your daughter made a valiant effort with that burrito! Maybe next year she can beat it!
Mar. 25, 2011 12:32 pm
Great blog! I love Maui and your pics brought me right back there. So glad you had a good time!
Mar. 25, 2011 12:38 pm
Hi grannygigi - she did put up a good fight - at least this year she didn't go face down in it
Mar. 25, 2011 12:39 pm
Hi Nurse Ellen - Nice Peeps ! Glad you like the picks - there are 1,006 more...
Mar. 25, 2011 1:14 pm
Sounds like you had a wonderful time, thanks for sharing. I enjoyed reading and your pictures are beautiful! Life is all about fun and families!
Mar. 25, 2011 1:28 pm
Hi SueC - it was great. My kids will only be this age once and I want to be with them as much as I can.
Mar. 25, 2011 1:53 pm
I really enjoyed hearing about your trip, Doug. We took our kids when they were 9 & 10 and it's a trip I'll never forget. We went to Oahu which I understand is very built up now. This was in 1979. I'd love to go back but Hubby doesn't want to do the hours in the plane. Did you have a stop over or direct flight or change planes? How did you make out with that jet lag? We had an hour lay over in Chicago with a direct flight. We are still enjoying our photos and my kids are in their 40's. Family vacations are money well spent. Posessions wear out but memories get better.
Mar. 25, 2011 2:13 pm
Hi Doug. Thanks for the blog about your trip, makes me want to pack my bag and leave tomorrow. Where did you stay? We are hoping to go next year, keeping my fingers crossed we will. We went two years ago and really loved it. Find any good places to eat?
Mar. 25, 2011 2:58 pm
Had to laugh at the dirt shirt. The in-laws did Hawaii maybe 15 years ago and to put a new spin on an old cliche' "all we got were lousy dirt shirts." We thought they were cool...until I had to wash them before we wore them...HE still thinks his is cool...I "misplaced" mine...really, I did...honest:) Glad you had a good trip and good to type to you again.
Mar. 25, 2011 3:34 pm
I know exactly what your wife said after washing the dirt shirt because I've said it too! Looks like you had a great trip none the less. Thanks for sharing some of your fun.
Mar. 25, 2011 4:12 pm
Hi SHORECOOK - we flew from Newark to LA and then LA to Maui - 5 to 6 hours for each flight. They were 2 long travel days but they were worth it.
Mar. 25, 2011 4:15 pm
Hi DeniseY - We stayed at the Makena Beach & Golf Resort on Maui. It's on the southeast corner down near Wailea. Not as built up. We found some great restaurants in Kihei, Lahaina & Paia.
Mar. 25, 2011 4:16 pm
Hi Mangel - good to see you again - my wife refused to buy a dirty shirt - my dirty daughters got them with me.
Mar. 25, 2011 4:16 pm
Hi BigShotsMom - I bet you do but with my wife, half of it is in italian.
Mar. 25, 2011 4:58 pm
LOL! Sounds like you had a great time. Macadamia nut pancakes? OMG! Sounds heavenly, but darn it you missed the photo I posted in my last blog. Just to see if you could identify it. Mum Ann knew what it was though. Glad you had a lovely safe trip!
Mar. 25, 2011 5:24 pm
Hi Cat Hill - you posted on the day I flew out of town so I never saw it but I am guessing a fire ant hill. How did I do ? And yes, the pancakes were heavenly.
Mar. 25, 2011 9:09 pm
doug great vacation! i could picture it. i remember the buses in ohau...running from 8 until 8 pm. i wasn't married then...so 8 pm was, for me, just getting cranked up. way too much fun and then begging riides from total strangers back to the condo...many moons ago. great folks came thru. isn't the pineapple crazy good! cocunut butter...great memories...glad ya had a blast. shoulda tried some surfing...excellent!!
Mar. 25, 2011 10:06 pm
Wow, sounds like you had a wonderful Vacation with your family! Good times, love Hawaii!!
Mar. 26, 2011 4:59 am
Wow - sounds like you had a fantastic trip! Great blog and I felt like I was there, too! Someday I'm going to get there for real and not just thru everyone else's eyes!
Mar. 26, 2011 5:47 am
Wow--that luau plate. WAAAAAAANT.
Mar. 26, 2011 5:57 am
Wrong! LOL! It's something I want to try that we can find in the creek under rocks. Took the photo because of the effort it must have taken the creature. Reckon it's small lobster size :)
Mar. 26, 2011 11:37 am
OK - I must be the only person on the face of the planet who will ask this question - - "What is a dirt shirt?" Down here in the south - it means you've either been playin with the pigs - gator wrestlin in the swamp - or the outhouse needed repairs. Glad you had a good time with the family - and the pics are beautiful. And I may never get to Hawaii - so I'll have to tough it out here in Florida.
Mar. 26, 2011 12:07 pm
How about the bacon Doug? I just luv HI bacon. I think they must feed the pigs sugar cane! It is so good!. Glad you liked Maui. Have you tried any others? The big Island? Let me know; i can fill you in.
Mar. 26, 2011 1:05 pm
the carnitas burrito was amazingly good and sooooo filling! when we return in a few years, it will not stand a chance!
Mar. 26, 2011 4:04 pm
Arright Doug, what in tarnation is a dirt shirt? Glad you had a good time on the old family vacation, makes me wish I was your kid. Hmm Can I be your kid?
Mar. 26, 2011 4:28 pm
Good evening gderr - I did try paddle boarding and I was surprisingly bad. My wife & kids reveled in my failure. Your Hawaii experience sounds great.
Mar. 26, 2011 4:29 pm
Hi LOBSTER - it certainly was good times. Thanks for checking in.
Mar. 26, 2011 4:30 pm
Hi Mother Ann - if you can get there someday, I guarantee it will be worth it. Everyone has a favorite spot. Ours is Maui.
Mar. 26, 2011 4:31 pm
Hi Sarah Jo - it was a great plate - thanks for stopping in
Mar. 26, 2011 4:36 pm
MUD BUGS !!! Cat Hill, I am so ashamed.
Mar. 26, 2011 4:37 pm
Hi luv2cook - they are shirts that are dyed red with the red hawaiian dirt from kaui. They gained national prominence when Mike Rowe & Dirty Jobs stopped by for an episode
Mar. 26, 2011 4:39 pm
Hi Dog Fish Head aka Fabius - we almost did the Big Island last trip but the flights didn't work out for us. I would love to see it some day. And the bacon was crispy and piled high on the buffet every morning.
Mar. 26, 2011 4:40 pm
It was a valiant effort Cates - a little more training and I think you will finally be able to say that in the neverending battle between Dude & Food....Dude Wins !!!
Mar. 26, 2011 4:43 pm
Hey Raedwulf - Mike Rowe made them famous on Dirty Jobs. They are dyed red with real hawaiian dirt. They look & feel great. And I will let you know if we have any openings at the end of the next marking period. One child is close to being cut.
Mar. 26, 2011 6:19 pm
OMGosh! You are famous! Thanks for the *cheap plug* You ROCK!!!!
Mar. 26, 2011 6:39 pm
I wonder if Mike Rowe has ever played in Georgia red clay?
Mar. 27, 2011 5:38 am
LOL! That's why I thought you'd appreciate the photo! Still can't quite compare with the photos from your vacation :)
Mar. 27, 2011 6:17 am
Thanks Shanon K - we had a lot of fun that day with Michael & David. The kids & I have a couple more videos in the allrecipes.tv community section
Mar. 27, 2011 7:59 am
What a great blog! You had me giggling a few times! I would love to visit Hawaii at some point in my life and you just made that a confirmation!! :) Glad you had a great time and its never fun to return home..lol.
Mar. 27, 2011 8:16 am
So good to hear that you and your family had a wonderful time! The food looks amazing. In your honor, I whipped up some Hawaiian food of my own while you were away. I made a Kalua Pig, Chicken Long Rice Soup, and some Hawaiian Fried Won Tons (first time I have ever bought Spam). Okay, so maybe not authentic but it all was still tasty. Great blog and thanks for sharing!
Mar. 27, 2011 12:18 pm
I'm so very incredibly jealous! I had the pleasure of living on Maui for 6 glorious years and I miss it terribly. Fred's was our regular hang out on Tuesday nights for Taco Tuesday. Glad to hear you had a good time, my love for Maui will never fade.
Mar. 27, 2011 5:44 pm
Thanks Lyssa0587 - I am glad that I could make you smile. I know I need to visit the other islands but I am in love with Maui
Mar. 27, 2011 5:46 pm
Good evening SLN - they were selling Spam Flavored Macadamia Nuts at the Hilo Hattie store in Lahaina. I could not bring myself to buy them. I am starting to crave fish tacos again
Mar. 27, 2011 5:47 pm
Hi Ingalyn - if I had lived in Maui back in my drinking days, Fred's would have been my home away from home. Thanks for stopping in.
Mar. 27, 2011 6:14 pm
You write a heck of a blog....better reading than any travel article and with an inspiring message of the joy of family, fun and food!
Mar. 27, 2011 7:03 pm
Thank you ellie - I appreciate you stopping by
Mar. 27, 2011 8:20 pm
Glad you had such a good time. DH & I were gone for the weekend in the Quad Cities (Illinois/Iowa border). Our hotel also had a breakfast buffet. Must have missed the mango hollandaise for the powdered eggs. No macadamia nuts or coconut syrup for the Belgian waffles (but at least the name is international, right?). I think they were out of pineapple blintzes, but there were plenty of Hostess mini-muffins. All in all, I think it was pretty comparable, don't you?
Mar. 27, 2011 10:08 pm
Doug- glad to see you had a great time in Maui! We live on Oahu and have never been to Maui, but I've always heard its the most beautiful of all the islands. I must admit, I'm not a fan of most Hawaiian foods like lau lau, poke, or poi. Did you get to sample any of these foods on your trip?
Mar. 28, 2011 4:56 am
Morning Magnolia Blossom - sounds like the kind of place I stay in when I travel for work - only nicer. I haven't been to the Quad Cities for 15 years - lost $100 on a riverboat and then kept driving west.
Mar. 28, 2011 4:59 am
good morning a.granados - I have tried them all in my trips to maui and I have learned to stay away from the poi at the various luaus - I swear that poi is a joke played on tourists by the native hawaiians - thanks for stopping by
Mar. 28, 2011 8:32 am
Mar. 28, 2011 9:00 am
Hi mimi - thanks - there were actually 1,006 more pictures that we took but AR will only let you post 8 per blog and I don't have enough to say to cover that many photos
Mar. 28, 2011 10:17 am
What a great family vacation! I love the pics of the ocean, land and well of course the food ;) Oh, and that burrito your daughter had is huge! She looked so tiny next to it...lol. Great blog, keep it up!
Mar. 28, 2011 11:22 am
Hi SB - thanks for your comment - that Burrito was big - I probably should have posted the close up pic of it too - thanks for checking in
Mar. 29, 2011 8:29 am
Let's see....my two cents. Love Freds and Mooses for da Happy hour. Killer mai tais. Mooses for fried rice and eggs for breakfast with a $3 baileys and coffee. Breakfast of champions:) Need coconut syrup on da mainland....buy coco lopez and blend it with a bit of water to thin it and incorporate the fat solids. Ono too. Poi...NOT ono. When they started selling it at the Kahului Costco, they had to start limiting it to one bag per customer. Dirt shirts.....My MIL bought us some as an appreciation gift as her island hosts. When she wasn't looking, went directly to the garbage dumpster:) They do not make any commercial bacon in da islands. Frequently, they do bush it with sugar paste before they cook though. I always miss the locally made portuguese sausage ONO! I am not fond of lau lau or spam which makes me a heretic on da islands. Tsunami evacuations can actually be fun on Maui. We lived on the Kaanapali hillside later, but before we lived on Kaanapali beachfront and you headed up the hillside with food and drink and it became like a giant street party. You would run into your friends, aunties and uncle and talk story. Ukelele and guitars were also a tsunami necessity. Luckily we never got hit hard. Last but not least, I love the island of Lanai the best.(though Maui is my heart) If I could figure out a way to live there, I would. Glad you had a great time.
Mar. 29, 2011 11:17 am
I love your comment mauigirl - it is like a mini-blog within the blog. A lot of people in Kihei went "up country" when the tsunami horns were sounding - a lot of people took this one a lot more seriously than they did the little one a year ago. I did hear 9 foot swells in Lahaina but we didn't see any evidence or damage. I still need to try some of the other islands but i have this thing about maui that just keeps drawing me back. Maybe it's Sistah Val and KPOA ? Glad you stopped by and thanks for checking on us too the morning after the tsunami. That meant a lot.
Mar. 29, 2011 3:34 pm
I ran across your blog here and I loved it! So funny and so true! I just have to ask, I live in Kihei and I work in a little shop called Tutu's Pantry and we sell the Fresno hot sauce and the Pineapple Lime hot sauce (along with many others) is that where you got them or was it somewhere else? There aren't many places on the island that sell them. Just wondering :). It really is a small world when you start to pay attention.
Mar. 29, 2011 7:24 pm
Aloha Annie - Yes I did buy the Fresno Hot Sauce & Pineapple Lime at Tutu's Pantry. I also bought 2 jars of Banana Butter and a bottle of the Tutu's Pantry Pineapple BBQ Sauce that was the #1 seller for Super Bowl Weekend. We love your shop and if we lived in Kihei, I would spend more time there than at Fred's or Alexanders. It is a small world and I am glad that our spicy paths crossed. Mahalo & A Hui Ho !
Mar. 30, 2011 6:15 pm
Hi Doug! Thanks for the great blog and amazing Maui pics. My husband and I went there for our honeymoon and are dreaming of going back. I would love to hear what restaurants you tried in Lahina (we loved Mai Tai Lounge). Also, any Maui tips or must-dos would be welcomed. Thank you!
Mar. 31, 2011 5:16 am
Hi Monica. Good to see you again. In Lahaina, we stuck to Front Street again this year. We also enjoyed the Mai Tai Lounge but thought the food was actually a little better down the block at the newly re-named Lahaina Prime Rib & Seafood Company. Kimos is also nice but it just seemed a little bit like a factory to us. We stayed away from all of the chains like Hard Rock, Bubba Gump's & Famous Dave's. Moose McGillicuddy's is fun but we like the one in Kihei better. I also hear that Kobe Japanese Steakhouse on Dickenson Street is good and that Longhi's (italian) is way overrated & too pricey. The Paia Fish Market is a great picnic table dive up in Paia on the north side of the island. Funky little artist's town that's shops close up by 6pm. Mauigirl, a few comments up, used to live there and is a great source for info. We stayed away from the resort areas of kanapali & kapalua and we stayed down in Makena by Wailea. Not as windy and not as much rain. With 3 kids, we mainly played on the beach, explored in the afternoons, shopped & ate. Talk to you later. Aloha
Mar. 31, 2011 9:22 am
We do enjoy Alexander's when on Maui, will find Fred's next time.
Mar. 31, 2011 10:21 am
It will be worth the trip down S. Kihei Road - get some ice cream afterwards at the ice cream shop under Denny's next store.
Apr. 1, 2011 8:57 pm
Jeez Doug...what a small word eh? Now I am wondering if Annie sold you those sauces :) Too cool. My best friend since kindergarten lived in Kihei up until two years ago. It was so funny. We felt like we were making a big trek to visit each other. Just remembered another fond memory. We once got stuck on the Pali from 8 pm to 6 am due to a wildfire. Weird night for sure.We turned on the radio loud and did our best Cher impressions.....among others LOL Luckily, we had Miss Lily in the back seat. That Pali is DARK at night. We would go out to shi shi and we were afraid we were going to fall off a cliff in the dark:) Maui is my heart too, but I love Lanai. There is a reason Bill Gates got married there. It is amazing, I start talking Maui and my whole head goes there. Love it! Will be over soon and maybe moving back since my husband got his lay off notice today.
Apr. 1, 2011 9:27 pm
You said you got a kick out of the Tsunami evac. T-shirt, did you buy it anyway? Too funny! That burritos is as big as your DD, no wonder she had trouble. LOL Glad you all had a great time. With the winter you all have been having,no wonder you Ran screaming to the Pacific Ocean!! Looking at those photos will keep you warm till the snow thaws:) Thanks Doug for sharing your envyable vaca with us. Beautiful pics!
Apr. 3, 2011 10:56 am
Oops...meant world..
Apr. 4, 2011 5:53 am
Sorry to hear about your husband mauigirl but I am glad that I could bring a brief moment of happiness. I bet that Annie did sell me the sauces at Tutu's - she was the only person I ever saw working there. A hui Ho.
Apr. 4, 2011 5:54 am
Hi Patty Cakes - thanks for stopping in. I left the evac shirt on the rack but came home with about 10 new ones from other parts of the island.
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Doug Matthews

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About Me
My mother decided early on that her sons would never have to rely on someone to feed them so we all learned to cook at an early age. I really started to branch out when I moved out west to Denver, SF & Dallas. Combine that with extended business travel to Louisiana & my growing love of spices and you get a real mix of flavors.
My favorite things to cook
Love to make cajun food with my favorites being crawfish pie, alligator stew & alligator chili - I go nuts on Super Bowl Sunday
My favorite family cooking traditions
We didn't have a lot of traditions per se but you could count on pancakes or waffles on sundays - dad making scrambled eggs twice a year on christmas morning & mother's day - veal parmagiana on christmas eve, Thanksgiving with Grandma Matthews and any menu of your choice on your birthday. We weren't a spicy family so I learned a lot of good strong basics in the kitchen from Mom that I have carried over into my cooking today.
My cooking triumphs
I love to experiment with variations of dishes I try around the country. My biggest success is here on allrecipes where I had 2 recipes published in the same cookbook - Southwestern Turkey Soup & Curried Carrot Soup. I think my corn muffins are a great starting point and my alligator chili has become a much requested Super Bowl favorite.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few times in the past where I tossed everything and took everyone to a restaurant instead. I'm not too proud to say my cooking is awful when it really is.
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