I learned to cook from my mother. When I was small, I wanted one of those "Easy Bake" ovens and mom said "No." Instead, she took me into the kitchen and showed me how to do little things. By the time I started elementary school, one of my tasks was stirring the scrambled eggs for Sundy breakfast. I also learned by then how to stir the bechamel sauce to make chipped beef on toast.
My favorite things to cook
I make what I call my insane chicken soup. When my dad was ill with double pneumonia, I came up with this recipe that took a basic homemade chicken soup, but I added things like spinach, sweet potatoes, a little hot sauce and some other things just to up the vitamin level for him. It turned out so good that after 20 years, I still make it. I also like to make anything that has to do with chocolate!!!
My favorite family cooking traditions
I still have some of my mother's bowls, spoons an other utensils that she used when she was alive. I also have a recipe of hers for white bread that I still make today, with only one change. When my dad was alive and I made it, he always told me it reminded him of my mother.
My cooking triumphs
I asked my mom one year if I could make the traditional Thanksgiving dinner on my own. I was around 11 years old at the time, and we had a surprise visit from my aunt, uncle and four cousins. Mom was there to supervise and give hints but let me do all the work myself. I was so proud to put that dinner on the table that year.
My cooking tragedies
I think the worst thing I ever made was some peanut butter cookies I was sending to a friend in a "care package." I found an old recipe from an even older book. This recipe had all kinds of spices in it; not the type of traditional cookie we think about today. They were hockey pucks, hard and dry. I thought they would still be good to send in the mail. When my friend got them, he told me they were so hard, he could throw them against a wall and put a hole in it. Besides that, they tasted terrible!