My cooking history started with a Betty Crocker Children's Cookbook, given by a family friend, when I was 5 years old. The first food I remember making was red Jello with bananas. By the time I was 9, I was preparing Tuesday dinners for my large family -- admittedly, the meal was usually Kraft Spaghetti or frozen Pot Pies with a salad and bread, but it got the job done!
My sisters still chide me for the recipes I created during my Home Ec. period. The most memorable was Green, Minty Milk. I also improved my cooking skills to make many practical meals from scratch.
Forty years later, I love cooking simple, practical meals for my family and friends from high quality ingredients. We do not use mixes or prepackaged food; our meals are gluten & dairy-free. I am not a great cook, but I can whip up a tasty meal from the remains in our pantry in 20 minutes or less.
My favorite things to cook
Desserts: Cherry-Berry Pie,Gluten-free Black Magic Cake, and Homemade Peach Ice "Cream"
Entrees: GF/Nondairy Lasagna,Stir Fries, Balsamic Glazed Grilled Steak, Game meats,
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mom made the best Lasagna, strawberry jello salad, and pineapple/nut stuffed cookies.
My maternal grandpa had once been a fry-cook. He taught me how to cook on a griddle and make delicious gravies and sauces from standard ingredients. These skills still come in handy, as well as his admonition to "never load the grill with too many hash browns. It cools the grill down so much that you'll never push the food through. It steams the potatoes, instead of frying them. They'll never get crisp!" Good advice!
My husband, Dennis, loves to cook "Slumgullian" a highly seasoned bean dish that uses up leftover venison or more traditional meats. It's good with a hot slice of corn bread and a larger portion of dessert, if you catch my drift, but I love him for cooking for me!
My cooking triumphs
Last year, I prepared a simple supper of Cornflake Chicken, Corn on the Cob, Potato Salad and Black Magic Cake for a large family gathering. After blessing the food together and filling their plates at the buffet, 20 family members sat down at our enormous table. But, the room became hushed, rather than filled with chattering and laughter. I thought the meal was a failure, until one of my husband's cousins declared, "This meal is so good, that I don't want to waste a moment talking, instead of eating!" I let out a big breath and filled my plate with a smile.
My cooking tragedies
On one of our early dates, I bragged about my "World's-Best Meatloaf" to the man who is now my husband. While I was seasoning the meat, my daughter called from Europe. I left the meal-in-progress for a long chat. When I returned to the meal, I picked up where I had left off: adding gathered ingredients from the right side then moving them to a tray on my left.
When I served the delicious looking and smelling meatloaf, I took the first bite -- quickly spitting it out! In my excitement over the international call, I had returned beef bullion flakes to the right=hand side. My meatloaf was "The World's Saltiest"!
When I informed my date, he proved his loyalty by eating 2 pieces, anyway. That moment is when I knew I had to marry that man. Six months later, I did.