Although I grew up in family full of wonderful cooks and home gardens, I took it all for granted. I was a lousy cook until the age of 21 when I went to France and had the most delicious crepes, roasted potatoes, duck, and snails I've ever eaten. Once I found out for myself that someone could make a slimy little critter such as a snail taste good, it convinced me that cooking was worth the time and effort. I mean come on, snails! When alive, they are nothing more than boogers come to life, but that chef worked indecipherable magic with butter and spices that transformed the humble snail into one of the tastiest things I've ever had. I spent my short time in France living through my tastebuds, suddenly aware of a higher quality of life that I had overlooked in my own surroundings at home for years. I have been cooking constantly since.
My favorite things to cook
I like aromatic spices and textures that contrast with each other - complex tastes. Foreign foods really appeal to me - curries, italian foods with lots of basil, garlic, thyme, and oregano. And cheese - need I say more. Baked desserts such as sweet breads cakes and cookies are also something I love to make.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My Grandma would make pancakes from scratch with me every Saturday as a kid. She gave me a little pink gingham apron with my name embroidered on it. She was also a candymaker - a skill that I still strive to replicate.
My cooking triumphs
I was a late bloomer. I think the biggest triumph for me was being able to understand cooking terms so I didn't have to read about what "mincing" or "braising" meant from the cookbook anymore - what a timekiller that used to be! Also, when I finally developed a lasagna recipe that was uniquely mine and a big hit with friends and family.
My cooking tragedies
I can't make fondant - yet... (sob) And I have a small kitchen right now... I just don't know if I'll ever pull through! (sniffling, dabbing at eyes with a tissue) Life is rough. I plan to overcome my afflictions with perserverance and a folding card table. Yup. That should do it.