I'm the only daughter of a woman who lived through the Great Depression and taught me everything she knew about how to squeeze a dollar until "the eagle grins." I used to think it was quaint but these days it's all become incredibly useful.
My favorite things to cook
Bread; bagels; fancy chocolates; chocolate-dipped berries; espresso and coffee drinks; vegetarian main dishes; chicken main dishes; ethnic cuisines like Mexican, Indian, Thai, Chinese, French, Italian.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mom was Czech so she made memorable foods like kolaches, stuffed cabbages, and other eastern European fare. We always made a very fancy candy-studded gingerbread house every Christmas when I was a kid. My mom could make dinner for six people for six bits and still have a quarter left over for Kool Aid.
My cooking triumphs
I made my own chocolate tempering machine (the "Meltmaster 5000") out of a dead bread machine, a steel mixing bowl, two light bulbs, a couple of switches, and the motor from a Farberware indoor rotisserie. It works great!
My cooking tragedies
I killed a perfectly good thriftshop bread machine to make my chocolate tempering machine, but I still get a lot of use out of the remaining nuts and bolts. I also killed my toaster oven trying to get it to go up to 500 degrees so I could use it to temper metal. Still trying to figure that one out.