I was born in the late Fifties and raised in Southern California by a Dallas-born father and a San Francisco-born mother. My great aunt and grandmother in Texas taught my mom how to cook. My dad is a retired firefighter and my mom raised 5 kids on his salary, so our culinary tradition is white southern country food on a tight budget. Because we were in L.A., I learned to cook Mexican food along with dishes in my family tradition.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake. I am very proud that I have mastered making bread by hand. It gives me such a sense of accomplishment. I can make really good enchiladas, especially chicken enchiladas. I have mastered pie crust, which also makes me proud. My husband says he married me for my potato salad, and I can make classic red beans and rice, too. His mom is Creole from New Orleans, so he likes things spicy. He is also a journeyman BBQer, and his rotisserie turkey breasts are legendary in our old neighborhood. I have a fry baby that I love to use for fish and chips, onion rings, and tempura vegetables.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mom made the cheapest food taste so good. She used to boil macaroni and put a few pieces of chopped bacon and some canned tomatoes in it and we would eat that until it ran out our ears. We bbqed all the time and she made wonderful spaghetti sauce, biscuits, fried chicken, Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, tacos, potato salad, and meatloaf. We ate lots of fruit salad and green salad, lots of hamburger and chicken, and lots of beans and noodles. My dad had a glorious sweet tooth, and we had dessert with every dinner. She makes a lemon cake that everybody still expects for every holiday.
My cooking triumphs
Bread, pie crust, potato salad, chicken enchiladas, quiche, apple pie.
My cooking tragedies
I dated a German guy for a while and one time I decided to make sauerbraten for his family so I found a recipe and I followed it as well as I could and we had all these people over and it turned out as tough as a boot, and they didn't like me anyway, so it was sort of a failure I didn't need. How embarrassing.