Being raised in the rural midwest, my mother was an excellent country cook who also possessed a flair for entertaining. Thankfully, I inherited her gift of hospitality. Eventually I developed my own tastes and cooking styles through extensive travel, collecting cookbooks and watching cooking shows. Food is my greatest passion, whether it be shopping for it, studying it, cooking it, entertaining with it and (fortunately or unfortunately) eating it.
My favorite things to cook
Baking is certainly my forte. It's one of the ways I channel my love and it's very spiritual for me. I also enjoy preparing Caribbean and Latin inspired dishes because I think those cuisines are so sexy and use interesting spices. Thai is another favorite because I love the flavor combinations that use Asian curries, coconut, lime, etc.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family is spread out across the country so we rarely get to eat together. When my parents had their home on the lake and I came home from Atlanta to visit, I used to go all out and make Sunday brunch for everyone to enjoy on the deck. I made omelets, homemade hash browns, bacon, bran muffins, mimosas and served fresh fruit. It was always so peaceful and everyone enjoyed it. But mainly I just miss the times when my mother cooked a big meal for a special occasion. She always created such a comfortable and peaceful environment that gave me such a safe feeling. I'll never forget that.
My cooking triumphs
I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to coordinate the menu and prepare the food for my neighborhood's tour of homes food tent. I made a lot of friends from that event and everyone was so appreciative and complimentary. I also make gift baskets for Christmas using gold and silver boxes lined with beautiful tissue paper. I fill them with delicious cookies and candies and give them to my friends and co-workers. Everyone enjoys the creativity and the personal touch and they LOVE the treats!
My cooking tragedies
I don't really have any specific tragedies that come to mind although I'm sure I have a selective memory when it comes to that. I think the real tragedy goes back to the time during my early cooking years when I didn't understand the importance of fresh herbs and produce. There was a lot of "open a can of this and a can of that". Discovering all the wonderful fruits, vegetables and herbs God made was what really helped boost my cooking skills to the next level.