My father is Basque, but he married a girl from a very simple gastronomic background. She soon learned her way with food and became a superb cook. I started cooking as soon a she let me into the kitchen.
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook large meals for large groups of people. Even if there are just two of us, I like to make a nice home-cooked meal. I just love to cook - anything!
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother was not Basque, but soon learned to cook my father's native dishes by watching the women in the kitchen of our favorite Basque restaurant in Winnemucca, Nevada. Shortly before she passed away, Mother "tested" my sister and me to make sure we could carry on our culinary heritage. My sister and I are both very good cooks.
My cooking triumphs
In 1972, I lived with relatives in a very small village in Spain. My cousin's wife chopped the wood for the stove, which provided food, warmth and our only source of warm water. We got our bread daily from the traveling "panadero," but I one day bragged that I could bake bread, and the challenge was on. I had to go to the nearest larger village with a bakery to get a large chunk of yeast, flour and sugar, none of which we raised on the farm, so we had none. Having no clue how to determine a temperature in a wood burn stove, I guessed. My beautiful loaf of bread was indeed a triumph.
My cooking tragedies
When my children were young, it seemed that every birthday cake I made fell crooked, then fell apart. This was probably only a few cakes, but my cakes came to be known as "earthquake cakes," and my children frequentlyand lovingly remimd me of my early misadventures. They particularly love it when I occasionally have a geriatric moment and recreate and earthquake cake." I'm sue my grandghildren will grow up to hear these classic stories.