I'm a bit of a hippy. I served nearly 8 years in the military and did a lot of traveling. In my travels, I tried to sample as much of the local cuisine and culture as I reasonably could. I guess I'm female equivalent of Anthony Bourdain, except I quit smoking last year.
Before my stint in the military, I was a union carpenter in Chicago for about 7 years. I know just about every decent restaurant in the 10 county area, including bits of Indiana and Wisconsin. In the construction off season, I would do some bartending or waitressing at my favorite restaurants just so I could hang out with chefs and learn their insider secrets.
Now, I'm a housewife again. My honey is a vegan and this is the biggest cooking challenge I've ever encountered. How do I cook vegetables and grains without any meat, dairy or honey products?
Between you and me, this vegan stuff is for the birds. Bahh!
My favorite things to cook
Oh, MAN! Bring on the soups and breads. All I need is a big old kettle, a selection of premium meats, veggies, flour, eggs and spices. Add a couple bottles of wine and some good music and I am on Cloud Nine!
My favorite family cooking traditions
I don't have kids of my own so I yank my neighbors kids out from in front of the TV and make them "keep me company" in the kitchen. At first they're mad that they can't rot their brains with garbage but then they become curious. First they watch me. Then they start asking questions like, "what are you making", "can I help", "how do you do that". That's when they learn! They learn to cook and work in the kitchen like little pros.
My cooking triumphs
I was tracked down by a 4 star general to cater his unit's Organization Day. This is like a company picnic. There were 200 soldiers and family members and I'm not even a trained cook. That's right, I'm not a professional cook.
I had a crew of three friends helping me on the day of the event but I spent the previous week going mad with preparations.