I learned to bake as a child out of panic. I ate all of my mother's shortbread cookies that she had hidden. I emptied my piggy bank, bought a pound of butter and made a batch. They tasted so good and the family loved them. I was 8 at the time and have been hooked on cooking ever since. I love it when years later people still talk about a meal they had at our table. We don't buy boxed food or frozen. I make up my pie crusts in big batches and freeze. I read and collect recipe books like people read novels. Then I take ingredients and ideas and come up with my own recipes. Trouble is I don't always write them down, but now my recipe books are all marked up with notes on each one. I work with the public all day so baking is a stress reliever for me. I made my roasted red pepper soup for a friend years ago and just the other week she was talking about it again. I would make a huge batch omit the sour cream and freeze it in containers, easy supper for heat and serve.
My favorite things to cook
I love inventing new things to cook or bake. This summer was smoking meats with apple wood chips (pork shoulder)smoked for 7 hours, oh my god it was so good. I experiment with different flavor combinations. One of my husbands favorites is turkey dressing with fresh chopped cranberries added and made with toasted raisin bread and orange juice.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Every Christmas I make homemade chocolate truffles and have for years. My family won't let me stop, because Christmas just wouldn't be the same.
Along with shortbreads and 3 different kinds of biscotti some dipped in white chocolate with dried cranberries and chopped cashews. One is not enough.
My cooking triumphs
Baking a cake for 200 people for a grand opening of a railway. Cake was decorated with a replica of their locomotive. Also a free standing Armadillo cake for the Goderich Little Theatre and the play Steel Magnolias. The surprise it was blood red inside. Also making deserts for a wedding of 150 people with no helpers. Time management came into play with all of them.
My cooking tragedies
When I first got married my husband said he liked chili. I had never made it before and it wasn't a favorite of mine so my taste buds didn't know the flavor they were looking for. He said he liked it hot, so I added chili powder, hot pepper seeds, hot pepper sauce and diced hot banana peppers. It was so hot he couldn't eat it. I've toned it down a lot now although I still like it spicy and serving it over rice tones it down.