I am a lifelong New Yorker, once again living in the home in which I was raised. My mother, now 86, started teaching me quite young, so by the time I was married, I had a good foundation on which to build. Over the years, I have greatly expanded my repertoire and now am extremely comfortable and proficient with a wide variety of cuisines. I love good food but hate to spend a lot on things I can do myself, so I have learned to reproduce many dishes I have eaten in restaurants.
My favorite things to cook
Much of my cooking is based on the dishes I grew up with, basic American cookery, but my love of food has encouraged me develop an extensive repertoire. I love to make a good pot roast or brisket, traditional fried chicken cooked the way my Southern grandmother-in-law taught me, and seafood of any kind. When I am in a creative mood, there are few recipes I won't try, but nothing with liver, thank you! I am comfortable in any kind of kitchen, or no kitchen at all! When I go camping, there's nothing I love more than creating gourmet meals over a campfire. Once you learn open-fire technique and learn how to handle using several pots and utensils withoug getting burned or setting your shoes on fire, it's not all that hard! I've even baked bread on the stone ring that held the fire, and there's nothing like a good campfire dumpcake.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I can't really say we had a family tradition regarding food. Dad was not an adventurous eater, so the menu tended to be fairly limited, but the food always tasted good. It was also important to my parents that we all eat together, so dinnertime became a bonding experience. There was always room for a friend or two, and Mom taught me a great deal about how to stretch a meal to feed more people. That, in my opinion, is a very important skill!
My cooking triumphs
My biggest success is the wedding cake I made for my daughter Jaime. I spent many hours practicing decorating techniques, as I had agreed to make it in spite of the fact that I had never before used fondant. Complicationg matters: my oven was broken, and the wedding was held 3 hours from my home, and at the last minute, I decided to make the Groom's cake, too. So, I baked 2 6-inch coconut layers, a 10-inch dark chocolate layer, 60 coconut cupcakes, 60 chocolate cupcakes, and 2 10-inch German chocolate layers at a friend's house on Thursday. I packed all the cakes, plus all the ingredients for fillings, frostings, and decoration, my fondant and supplies,and the fondant flowers and hearts I had made, a hot plate, and my trusty Mixmaster into my car, along with my Mom, brother, and our luggage, and drove to Atlantic City. I made the frostings and toppings and finished the cakes in our hotel room on Friday and Saturday for the celebration on Sunday.
My cooking tragedies
I have never had a true cooking tragedy. I either re-name the dish, make quick repairs, or find some other way to make it look as if the dish that made it to the table was the one I had planned all along. Gravies, melted cheese, Chopped parsley, and whipped cream can all be used to hide a multitude of imperfections. What my guests don't know won't hurt them, as long as I keep my kitchen safe and sanitary.