Ups and downs - twists and turns these are the chapters of our lives. The road is rarely straight - some things just cannot be predicted. Change
is part of growing- through that growth we come to appreciate what life deals us.
Not all change is welcome - good or bad these events make us who we are today. Better - richer from the wealth of knowledge that comes with living.
It seems the chapters of my life come in groups of ten. A decade at a time.
The First Decade: I couldn't wait to grow up - summer lasted forever and I thought I would never grow up. I was doomed to be a kid in an adult world. My
time was occupied by horses and chickens - chores and our family restaurant. This is really where my love of cooking and food began - I just didn't know it, yet.
The next decade - The Teens - a whole other chapter
My next chapter threw me a curve ball - my mother died, my sister got married, my eldest brother went to Vietnam and my other brother went away to college.
The restaurant closed. That was all in one year! So began another chapter of my life. I went to boarding school.
I was not a happy camper.
At first it was a boarding school in Santa Barbara, where Irish Nuns prepared delicious Irish Stew, which I looked forward to each and every week. They taught
me to pray - to pray for my brother's safe return - each night after dinner I went to chapel to pray - it worked! This was not an easy year for me but I survived.
Then my father took a job in the Middle East and I was off to a British boarding school. My parents were British and this made total sense - except to me. My
family might have been born in the UK but I was a California girl. This decade took me through hills and dales - from California to Britain to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel,
Spain and France with a few other countries thrown in for good measure. Other teens my age collected records and posters - I collected passport stamps and a sampling of food from the world cuisine. I also collected pounds - not British Sterling kind either
- I left for Britain weighing 95 lbs and came home weighing 165 lb.... Let me just say we spent more time walking to meals than any other exercise.
The March activity for the Ambassador program was to go to the UK site - join and and make a few recipes. This was like 'going
home' for me. It was a journey back in time. Thanks, AR for taking me "home" for a month.
Overstone School - the Main Residence House
Most of the main house was destroyed by fire in recent years.
Science Final Exam
Boy - did we know how to make scones, pastry and white sauce?
Yes, we did and I have still not forgotten!
team - In front of the school buildings
I bet you can't guess who I am....
in front of the Main House - See that cloak on the far right - the hoods were lined with the color of your 'House" - My house was Topaz - Does this sound a bit like Harry Potter?
You know what is wrong with this picture?
We were never allowed to wear pants and we were never allowed bikes.
At the bottom of the drive to Overstone stands the church - it is where we worshiped every Sunday - wearing our Sunday uniform. It still stands today.
The beginning of my 20's brought me HOME - California again - my 20's brought me my husband and 3 children. I had a family - one that I created,
but we were family complete with our food traditions - many of them British. As my children grew so did our interest in sports and the kids activities so began another chapter - soccer....
Living in England I learned to love 'football' - not the American variety but what we here in the States call soccer - problem - although
as a young woman it was acceptable to cheer for a team or support a club with banners and flags it was UNHEARD of to play or referee!
I knew and loved the sport but I knew my place.....then came the call.....we need your child's team to have a referee.... that was 1981 -
I answered the call. I went to class - I went to training - I faced players & parents on the field and the next thing I knew I was hooked.
Then came my 30's - by now I had 3 children playing soccer and I had become the slow cooker / fast food coach & referee mother. We were doing
soccer year round - pot lucks on the soccer field were the norm - and boy was there some good food. Sometimes I would pick the tournaments based on what was served at the referee tent.
Korean Short Ribs & Rice = I was there! Hot dogs and Nacho's = pass.
Amazingly - I look back and realize that even my 'season' as a referee was centered around food.
Then came my next chapter - my daughters were involved in a horrible car accident - my youngest was in the hospital at Loma Linda
University Medical Center for 6 months - my eldest for 6 weeks. I lived out at Loma Linda for 6 months - this is where I learned about - Acceptance - Inner Peace and Vegetarian Cuisine. .... Oh yes, and no caffeine ... Loma Linda is Seventh Day Adventist
- it is a BYOB type of place..... "Bring Your Own Beans" Coffee Beans that is....
Then came the decade of renewal - of learning to walk - to talk - to eat - my life as a Nationally ranked referee came to a screaming
halt and I began another chapter of my life.
It was during this time that I came to Allrecipes.com searching for recipes for my daughter - I didn't know about becoming a
member or that Allrecipes.com offered a recipe box - I could have saved myself a lot of time and ink - copying / pasting & printing recipes, if I had only known.
Then came my next chapter - my girls were healthy and alive and I was failing - I was nursing a torn ACL - I couldn't walk let
alone run - I was down and out but not enough to keep me off the computer. About the same time came a series of events that led me back into cooking for 'real people' .... families and those in need. Families who
needed special diets - those who just needed wholesome food instead of fast food.
Which eventually led me to AllRecipes & the Recipe Exchange aka the Buzz - here I found a whole new world of foodies.
There was Witchy Woman and Mominator, Sassy and RedNeck Grandma, Evin and Weeble....Cindy and Gderr - gosh - so many "REAL" people.
I read and read and then I couldn't resist - I joined in - I don't think I even introduced myself - for that I am sorry - I just barged into the party and I haven't looked back.
The next thing I knew I was "breaking all the rules" and planning to meet up with my "new friends" Indeed, I have met so many
new friends through Allrecipes.com.
This is my kind of community - a group of "foodies" that care about each other, offer advice - cooking or not, support each other
and cheer each other on.
Through AR I have met many true friends - friends who will find a way to get to Southern California from Las Vegas - some from Oregon, a couple who have
traveled from the mid-west to meet up with a bunch of crazy AR Peeps! Then there are the new friends - just waiting to be hugged and 'met'. Notice - the hug comes first!
Don't hesitate to "meet and greet" your fellow AR Peeps - you will not be disappointed - they have enriched my life beyond measure.
am an Allrecipes
Allstar Brand Ambassador(a
voluntary position) and I’m not compensated for my work with Allrecipes.com. Products received from advertiser are only used for experienced-based reviews on Penny
The reviews, content and opinions expressed in this blog are purely the sole opinions of Penny
aka Baking Nana.