Most people buy trinkets for souvenirs when they travel, I buy cookbooks. There's nothing better than sharing a meal that you enjoyed on vacation with family and friends at home. Even my children bring back spices and cookbooks from their travels for me! My absolute favorite gifts are kitchen gadgets and anything "foodie".
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook and bake...my husband loves to eat:-) Now that my DH is diabetic and I have severe dairy allergies, I have had to get very creative with recipes. I've found that with enough patience almost any recipe can be converted to fit our dietary needs and still taste amazing. No dinner is complete without dessert...it doesn't have to be fancy but it does have to be delicious.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family heritage is Polish and Irish while my husbands is Welsh and German...I tend to favor traditional ethnic recipes reworked to fit today's healthy guidelines. My sister and now my daughter have married into Italian families and I have been busy adapting traditional Italian recipes to fit my dairy-free life...no easy feat I assure you. I've learned to make a mean cheese free pesto!
My cooking triumphs
In May of 1977 I baked a full sheet cake in the shape of clanging wedding bells for my wedding shower and in June of '77 my Polish grandmother (with the help of my mother and aunts) taught me to make her Polish nut cookies, pecan tassies, "strawberry" date candies and homemade mints for the cookie table at my wedding reception. In 1982 my little sister and I baked 111 DOZEN cookies (all fancy...no chocolate chip or everyday cookies allowed... mini-cheesecakes, Italian wedding cookies, pizzelles...plus all the traditional family recipes) for the cookie table at our middle sisters wedding! They were such a hit that the next year we repeated our cookie table (on a smaller scale) for our brothers wedding. I have since baked cookies for every one of my siblings weddings. I had the pleasure of baking cookies for the dessert table at a family gathering we held the weekend of our beautiful daughters wedding in Philadelphia in 2007.
My cooking tragedies
I cannot bake an oatmeal cookie to save my soul! Of course oatmeal would be my hubby's favorite cookie. Mine are edible but they always spread too thin and then crumble. They do make a great crumb topping for cobbler and also add a tasty crunch to brownies when sprinkled over the batter before baking...but just once I would like to bake a good looking, delicious tasting oatmeal cookie.