As a child I was banned from the kitchen by my stern and overprotective mother. As an adult Ive made up for a childhood without culinary memories of my own by cooking as often and for as many people as possible. I have great friends who to eat. I try to use my experience as an army brat and world traveler to influence my food. I'm a former nanny so its kid-friendly during the day and daring at night. If everyone gets fed with a smile, Im happy. But, I hate baking because its too exact and I tend to be more carefree when it comes to amounts and measures.
My favorite things to cook
Mexican and Italian seem to be either my best or just my most popular. My alfredo, enchiladas, and vodka sauce have been big hits across the board. I love foods that start as blank slates like mashed potatoes. What a difference a clove of garlic makes!
My favorite family cooking traditions
I grew up in a house with a mother who was young and learning to cook - we once had a seafood catered Thanksgiving while living in Seattle. Because of that, my greatest food memories are vacationing in WV at my grandparents house when she made a full breakfast everyday. The smells coming from the kitchen are still the best alarm clock I ever had. I blame my love of bacon and my thighs on my grandma.
My cooking triumphs
While living with several roommates in Maryland we had a visitor from Canada. She mentioned how sad she was that she was missing Thanksgiving with her family. We were all shocked, as it was only October. A little research, a rushed trip to the grocers, and a few hurried hours in the kitchen were all I needed to turn out a full Thanksgiving feast for 20 people. It was so well received, we did it again in November as a gift for 2 friends returning from Iraq. The difference? The second time was for 40.
My cooking tragedies
Where to begin? Peanut butter cookies so salty they had to be fed to the dog, lasagna that fell apart, baked potato soup with burned yet undercooked pieces of potato, and an alfredo attempt using fat free half and half instead of cream that separated on the pasta.