Almost-forty dad of a tweener girl who is my pride and joy. Communications, marketing, PR consultant by day. . .cook, writer, reader and musician by night.
My favorite things to cook
Almost easier to discuss what I am NOT into: desserts, slow-cooker, and most baking (the occasional bread craziness on winter weekends excepted). The odd thing is, my first job was baking donuts; my third job was as a baker (anyone remember La Petite Boulangerie?). Maybe I burned out. Now, I love soups and chilis, all Italian and pasta, chicken and beef, and all types of classic dishes. Mostly, I get my foodgeek on by taking classic, homespun dishes and re-making them with a bolder, hopefully better, flavor. Sometimes this involves time. Sometimes, a LOT of time. What can I say? I'm patient. Most of the time.
My favorite family cooking traditions
What else? Mom's cooking: lasagne, stewed green peppers and beef over rice, and sliced potatoes/pork chops in a creamy caraway casserole. Dad's cooking: Chili Con Carne, memories of him making cheeseburgers on a big, old Farberware grill, and eating leftover Christmas Eve cookies for breakfast on Christmas morning. :) My father also taught us about fried dough (yum), and my lovely sisters introduced me Carmelitas (quite possibly the best cookie ever), Monkey Bread (think "brown sugar and butter slathered over rolls while they bake"), and the most outrageously failed bagel experiment ever -- non-risen bagels that looked more like hard, glossy, carnival-style tossing rings. Hey, whatever -- we laughed and took pictures with the old Polaroid at 2 a.m., when they were finally done (hardened).
My cooking triumphs
Hmm. Perhaps the London Broil I served at a company holiday party, or perhaps my almost-famous chili. I've also been complimented on my paella and gumbo -- so there ya go.
Being a single-dad (imagine that!), my daugher is my primary judge, and she's a good one: she tries everything once, is honest, specific but gentle with her opinion, and has a broad palette that allows me to ignore most of the "kids' favorites" recipes here. Thank God.
My cooking tragedies
Truly too many to count. My worst may have been the noodles, cheese, sour cream and cheap lunchmeat piepan concoction I invented as a starving, broke 20 year old. Or perhaps the fried rice I once attempted, with too much oil and too little heat. Needless to say, it ended up a saturated, greasy mound of bloated rice. Most Asian countries have banned me from visiting due to this dish. Point is, even after some "experience," I still fail almost 1/2 of my first attempts (perfectionist?) -- but then there's REM, which sang, "Practice makes perfect, perfect is a fault, in fault lies change." Right? Right!