I've been cooking for a long time but have just in the last year or so been in a position to really get into trying new things on a regular basis. When my life took a turn, I was thrilled to find that cooking and baking are like therapy - only I didn't have the equipment I needed to do much baking. Now I have the basics, and a willing tester to boot - I'm cooking like a mad scientist and loving it :o) (But truth be told, I really could use a Kitchen Aid stand mixer and a Cuisinart food processor heheheh - so if anyone is giving one away *wink wink*)
My other passion is dogs - having no children, I've always had dogs. They are always strays, or adopted from shelters. When my 18 year old dog died a couple of years ago, I was heartbroken. We had our big dog Tebow but he is my husband's dog. Four months ago someone dumped a pit bull puppy out by the house. He's mine now, and I love him to pieces. I needed him as much as he needed me!
My favorite things to cook
Cakes are my favorite - old fashioned cakes of any kind, and also taking a cake mix and using it in a fashion unintended by the manufacturer. I find boxed cakes made according to directions boring - so I tweak and twist them until they no longer resemble that icky, dull, powdery stuff pretending to be cake. I also love pies and trifles - and cooking anything with coffee in it, especially different tiramisu recipes. Coffee is my favorite flavoring. Unfortunately my willing tester detests coffee, but my Dad is always willing to taste anything I bake! I have also learned to work wonders with venison, as we don't eat pork and rarely eat red meat unless it is the occasional steak. We live on deer meat. I can make gourmet burgers or fabulous fajitas, & I make great spaghetti or lasagna with it as well.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I only have one handed down to me - pound cakes. My grandmother made wonderful, perfect pound cake, and my mother in law does as well. I want to be able to make my pound cakes indistinguishable from theirs! The traditions I have handed down to my nieces are homemade bread and homemade chicken soup. Whenever the girls would come for a weekend at my house, we would make this and bake some brownies served with mint chocolate chip ice cream. Now that all my girls are grown and gone to homes of their own, I really miss those girls' weekends - but now I have great-nephews & nieces and I am sure they wouldn't mind a baking session with Auntie!
My cooking triumphs
Conquering learning to do more than just frying deer meat. I almost never fry it now. Also, the first time I realized I had lost my recipe for what I was going to make. I ended up winging it and realized that I had no need for a recipe after I came up with something way better than the original! Now I rarely write down anything, and seldom measure ingredients. I suppose I should, as people get annoyed when they ask for the recipe and I tell them there isn't one, I just threw it together.
My cooking tragedies
Years ago I made cornbread to take to a big family reunion (my husband's family, at that!) I was getting ready to go, & hubby nicely took the cornbread off the counter, covered it in foil and put it next to the big pot of green beans & new potatoes I had cooked. When we got there, he put the food on the table - I never saw it again until his uncle sat down across from me, held up some horrible looking cornbread that looked like all the oil had sunk into the bottom of it, and said "who made this nasty stuff?" I said "oh Lord, where did you get it?" He described my pan and I wanted to crawl under the table - to this day that man kids me about my terrible cornbread, which would NEVER have left my house if I had seen it first! But we all laugh about it now - its a family joke!