I've cooked since I was 10 years old. My aunt encouraged me to cook and was patient enough to let me turn her kitchen into a whirlwind of flour and utensils. She lives in the country and she and my uncle had a sizeable kitchen garden. It was there that I first experienced the thrill of picking one's own food and preparing it fresh. I also learned to love gardening and still do today although I live in a downtown apartment. I have a large planter of herbs growing on my sunlit balcony today along with a couple of potted grape tomato plants.
My favorite things to cook
I most enjoy cooking mains/entrees. I love to study a specific international cuising along with its regional cooking. I do my practical "studying" when I cook and enjoy these recipes.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Cooking from field to kitchen to table as much as possible. I've had numerous organic vegetable gardens in the country and the city. I adore visiting farmers' markets. Hamilton has a wonderful one and I've visited it regularly since I was a child when I accompanied my Dad on regular, early morning Saturday market trips. I like to discover new recipes to cook from my Scottish-French Canadian heritage. I make a mean tourtiere but buy my haggis at the butcher's!
My cooking triumphs
Dinner parties for my children complete with handwritten, illustrated menus. These fun occasions with my kids fostered an love of cooking and eating good food. My sons learned that cooking is fun, practical (we all have to eat!) and is a practical expression of the caring we have for ourfamily and friends. Both sons are excellent cooks, beyond the BBQ.
My cooking tragedies
A truly atrocious Mexican casserole that I made when first married, was one of my biggest failures. It was so horrible that I threw it out. It was a tragedy in that I had purchased expensive cans and boxes of Mexican ingredients. They had been hard to track down in Calgary, AB in the '60's!
I gave a dinner party for out-of-province friends that was a real frustration. I had decided to microwave Cornish hens for each persons which called for trip after trip to the micro to eventually cook the little blighters to the point of edibility. Dinner was becoming later and later and my guests had a time deadline. I'll never microwave whole poultry again. I broke my cardinal rule: NEVER try new recipes or techniques on company.