I am a linguist/translator by trade, hence the Screen name. My interest in cooking originally stemmed from my interest in/travel to other cultures/countries, many of which place culinary excellence at the top of their life priorities. Quality ingredients are central to the quality of any dish, as well as being critical to our health and well-being. I am thrilled about the trend in the U.S. over the past 20-odd years toward improving the quality of our food supply & elevating the quality of American cuisine. For me, cooking satisfies on so many more levels than any other activity: from enhancing one's very life sustenance to nurturing family & friends, to reliving one's best family memories to being an endlessly creative outlet involving all of the senses. What's not to love about cooking, besides doing the dishes?
My favorite things to cook
I don't have really have any favorite things to cook, but I live/cook by a few principles: #1: fresh ingredients beat processed (canned, frozen, dried, bottled, you name it) in every way. Grow as many herbs & veggies as possible in summer, tomatoes being absolutely required. #2: "From scratch" tastes so much bette & is a better value than "from the box" especially for salad dressings, sauces, dips, pancakes, cookies, cakes, pies, & breads, AND they don't contain the super unhealthy additives of processed foods, especially hydrogenated oils. The FDA would be outlawed if Americans ever woke up to their deceptions of the consumer and dealings with the food industry. It has been known for decades that ANY form of hydrogenated fats (transfats), including partially hydrogenated oils, are indigestible by the human body and automatically stored as body and blood fat. In my opinion, their prevalence in the U.S. food supply, besides soda, the "American beaujolais," is THE key reason for the incr
My favorite family cooking traditions
My favorite DAILY recipes and my cooking style come from my mother, my American HOLIDAY recipes come from my father. Mom was from France & cordon bleu grad for whom cooking was all about improvising with what was available. Dad, from an old New England family, learned by watching food prepared as had been done for generations on the family farm. They couldn't have been less compatible in the kitchen. Mom firmly believed, with the exception of a few sacred classics like soufflé or pâte a chou, that it was one's duty to improve upon every recipe known to man. Dad was a fussy perfectionist who followed every recipe to the letter. As we lived in New England, Dad did all the holiday cooking, executing his traditional New England family recipes, with Alton Brown-like precision.
My cooking triumphs
I owe my triumphs in the kitchen to two great teachers with diametrically opposed cooking styles, my parents. Thanks to my father, I've never experienced the panic I often read about over making any traditional holiday recipe, as his recipes were tried and true over generations, and he shared them in almost painful detail.
My cooking tragedies
I don't recall any "tragedies," per se. I'm not that emotional. I've had the usual failures: a tough pie crust (handled too much), a fallen cake (opening the oven door), spaghetti sauce with too much sugar, salad dressing that's too tart... what I have learned is to keep trying until you get it right, and when any part of a recipe comes out poorly, throw it out and start over if possible, and NEVER serve bad food. Order take-out at the last minute if necessary!