I am from an old Maine family with French Acadian, English and Native American heritage. I grew up working the garden and learning to cook the old fashioned way...some of this, some of that, a handful here and a pinch there. My Grandmother would never use anything but a wood cook stove which taught me cooking temps of warm, moderate, hot. One log, two logs, glowing red hot cinders and simmering cinders. I have always cooked from scratch. I get an idea of what I want in my head and do it. If I search out a recipe, it is to see if my idea is something others do and to see variations on it. My husband, of 32 years, and I have stopped going out to restaurants because we are spoiled with what can be created and controlled at home. If we do 'have' to have a meal out, we sit and try to figure out the ingredients to 'mock' at home.
I only recently have acquired kitchen tools and gadgets to make things easier on me now that I have MS. I use to do everything the hard way, by hand.
My favorite things to cook
We do not eat many baked goods, though I have mastered many. We prefer foods full of flavor, using herbs from my herb garden, spices from around the world and what ever fresh ingredients that are in season. I am an an artist, a spiritualist. I feel cooking is also an art and we eat for our soul.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family were potato farmers which meant potatoes at every meal! I think I had rice once when growing up. Saturday night baked beans still happens in this house. I still have to do it in the oven for that all day simmer. Depending on how many people, I will use my #1, #2 or #3 antique bean pot. Growing up we often had Bean Hole beans...these were simmered buried with dirt, in the ground over night. You will often find me cooking a meal outside over a wood fire, just can't beat the flavor and aroma. Yes, I am old school. I am the hippie of the family, though not old enough to be one.
As a child in Maine, lobster was the poor mans food. I did not grow a taste for it until I was in my 20's. Clam bakes on the beach, summer nights with a corn on the cob feed...rule was, bring the canning kettle to a full boil, go pick the corn, husk it on the way back, then drop it in the pot. Couldn't get any fresher than that. We would drink milk filled with cream straight from Daisy the cow.
My cooking triumphs
Churning butter is one triumph! Using my mothers churn that she received as a wedding gift back in the early 1940's. The other triumph I can think of is not really a triumph...it is more of healthy taste buds. I can put something in my mouth and come up with the recipe for it. Now, I am not always correct.
My cooking tragedies
As a new wife and no Mum at my side, I had many cooking failures. It was all part of learning. I was venturing off from my childhood taste buds and trying to find my way. I remember raw turkeys, burned tomato sauces...and my husband trying to hide his uneaten liver. As time went on the tragedies became less. Suppah was renamed dinner. More recent cooking problems has been due to me having MS and also 5 sleep disorders...I have ruined most of my Calphalon because I fell asleep in the middle of cooking!