I was born in Nha Trang, Viet Nam. I grew up in Texas where I currently live with my husband and two children. When it came time for me to learn how to cook (which wasn't until my husband and I were married), I was forever haunted by my mother's admonition. Because Vietnamese recipes are passed down orally, she advised me to watch her cook so that I could know how to prepare certain dished when the time came. As a stubborn headed daughter, I never did...and boy do I regret it!
My favorite things to cook
I love to entertain! When I get the chance to have friends and family over, I try to make 1-2 exotic dishes mixed in with the standard "normal" dishes. I find that this is a good way to get "picky" eaters to try something new. For the most part, I love to cook Italian, traditional American and Asian foods. During the summer I love to grill outside (sorry guys). During the winter I love to make hearty stews and homemade breads.
My favorite family cooking traditions
When I was growing up, whenever anyone of us got sick, my mother would make the Vietnamese equivalent of chicken noodle soup called chao. It was thick with a porridge-like consistency with shredded chicken and onions and black pepper. It was heavenly!! To this day, she will still bring me a big pot of chao when I am under the weather.
My cooking triumphs
My first cooking triumph was when a friend called to get my ribs recipe. She told me she and her husband were "spoiled". No other ribs compared to the ones I served them.
My second was making my mother-in-law's flan. Once my parents tasted it, the same thing happened. No other flan tasted the same.
My cooking tragedies
Ugh, where do I start?? I am the worlds worst when it comes to pastry dough. The first time I tried to make it, I got so frustrated that I wound up throwing the dough across the kitchen!