Not sure when my passion for baking and cooking really kicked in, but learned a lot from my high school Home Ec class back in the late '60s, when they still taught all those classes. I still have a notebook from then with all the recipes we used, including my cheesecake recipe. I've had my share of spectacular failures, but plenty of successes. I have developed a good sense of what works and what doesn't, and use that to refine and deviate from recipes to create my own stamp on a dish. I love creativity in cooking and gravitate to restaurants that use simple ingredients, but put together in unique ways to stimulate the taste buds. Don't like boring meals with little, if any, pizzazz. Like good interior design, it's the unexpected element in a composition that makes it stand out from the crowd.
My favorite things to cook
My first love was baking, experimenting with different recipes for poundcake, cheesecake, etc. to find a really outstanding one. Later, as my cooking skills kept improving, I experimented with Italian recipes, sauces, stews. I enjoy making the Thanksgiving turkey, my special cranberry sauce and so many others.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Spaghetti sauces, stews or beef bourguignon, pork roasts.
My spiced pecans are becoming a favorite at the holidays. Each year I end up making more and more to give as gifts to clients, family and friends.
My cooking triumphs
My New York style cheesecake, with 21/2 lbs. cream cheese, 7 eggs, cream, and a cookie crust rather than graham cracker crust. With a raspberry glaze and large whole raspberries from our garden on the top, it won the blue ribbon at the Wisconsin State Fair, many years ago. A labor intensive, but wonderful cake to impress family and friends with. I have others, but that one always stands out for me.
My cooking tragedies
Killed salmon fillets on the grill! Overdone turkeys or roasts. You name it, I've probably done it. But, failures are the best methods sometimes to make big improvements.