I have been referred to as a "Punk Rocker Betty Crocker," and I take that as a serious compliment! I'm a graduate student studying technical writing in the English department of a small university with a thriving population of international students who inspire me to try new recipes from all over the world. I work as an graduate assistant instructor, and I teach freshman English composition - I love making muffins for my students as a mid-term and end-of-semester reward (or bribe, depending on your perspective ;)). I have two spoiled dogs and one spoiled husband, and when I'm not cooking, grading, or studying I'm usually playing video games, watching movies (the scarier the better), going to see live music (the louder the better), or trying to write the "Great American Novel."
My favorite things to cook
Where to start? My favorite go-to is pasta with "Leftover Cream Sauce," in which I make a roux, add whatever dairy product happens to be hanging out in the fridge and the stragglers in the leftover veggie bin. I also love throwing parties and making mountains of appetizers and trying international dishes, and making big vats of gooey comfort foods to pour on my all time favorite: mashed potatoes.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My heritage is French on my mother's side and Scots on my father's; both parents are first generation Americans. Where most Americans think fondly of grandma's cookies, I have memories of my French grandmother making light, buttery madeleines. From my Scottish Dad, I got what I consider the comfort foods to end all comfort foods: mince and tatties, finnan haddie, apple charlottes, and "real" shortbread (none of this Lorna Doone nonsense in my house!).
My cooking triumphs
Cook enough, and you end up with a lot of these. But the best one so far had to be my BFF's "toga party" themed 30th birthday, held at my house. To go with the theme, I made an all-Greek menu using recipes from one of the myriad cookbooks I accumulate at every festival, benefit, and cultural fair I attend - this one from the Greek Orthodox Church's fair. We had dolmathes, tzatziki, homemade hummus and pita, Greek salad, and moussaka, and even the pickiest "what-is-this-I'm-scared" eaters had seconds. I won't lie, I enjoyed the compliments, but the best part was making my friend feel special on her day.
My cooking tragedies
Oh, my. Cook enough, and you'll have lots of these too! The first Valentine's Day after meeting my husband (who wasn't yet my husband at the time), I decided to make him a big, fancy dinner and really wow him. The "dinner" part turned out awesome, but I may have overextended myself on the cake (I'm no baker!). I'd never made a chocolate cake that didn't come from a box before, so I had no idea what the proper way to melt chocolate was. I put the chocolate in a tupperware, popped it in the microwave, and pulled out a burny, sticky mess. When I gamely tried to carry on with the recipe and added it to the egg whites I'd dutifully whipped, the entire thing congealed into a solid lump of awful. I will never forget the apprehensive look on soon-to-be-husband's face as he waited to see if I'd laugh or explode. Happily, I did the former, and we packed away the disgusting blob into the nearest disposable container, threw it in the trash, and had popsicles instead.