I started cooking as a child. My parents both worked full time and we always had a houskeeper who cleaned and looked after me and my brother. When I was 12 years old, I asked my mother if I could cook supper every night instead of the housekeeper. She agreed. She even let me make the grocery list and do the shopping - she just signed the check! Never a chore, that was the start of a hobby I am passionate about. Now, I am very confident in the kitchen and love to entertain and cook for others when they have a speial need such as an illness or a new baby.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake desserts - cakes, bars & cookies. I don't like to eat pie crusts and think they're too much trouble, so I don't bake pies very often. I love quiche, so when I make them I use ready-made or frozen crusts.
I also love to create healthy casseroles using lots of fresh vegetables. Yum!!!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Growing up I didn't have any sisters or girl cousins, so during holidays I would get together with my mother, grandmother and aunt and they taught me how to cook. Favorite memories include learning to make strawbery cake, yeast bread and potato salad with my grandmother.
When she passed away, I asked for her cookbook and a special spoon we always used in the kitchen. Now I use those two items on a regular basis to keep her memory alive. I've taught my own two daughters how to make "Nanaw's Strawberry Cake". I hope they will pass that on in their own families.
My cooking triumphs
Two years in a row I won the blue ribbon for both a Chili Cook-off and a Dessert Baking Contest here in Knoxville at TVA where my husband works. They have this competition every fall as a fundraiser for the United Way. It's that time of year now and I am in the process of creating two unique recipes for this year's competition. Wish me luck!
My cooking tragedies
Cherry jelly that didn't "set". I spent hours pitting and chopping the fresh cherries. I followed the directions on the recipe exactly, but the jelly never got firm. And it didn't taste very good either, so I threw the whole batch out. I'll just stick to starwberry freezer jam!