My mom says from the time I was about 5 or 6 years old I was asking her if I could bake things like brownies and cookies. For 12+ years I baked desserts every Sunday for her ladies group, three other women in the neighborhood who came over to discuss faith, family, and life. They complimented my treats and supported my hobby. Now I'm finished college, grad school, and newly married; and I'm still learning my way around the kitchen. There's always more to learn!
My favorite things to cook
I enjoy meals with lots of flavor and lots of color. However, my passion remains in baking, especially spectacular layer cakes! =)
My favorite family cooking traditions
My grandmother, a long time ago, got a cookie recipe from her friend that had been passed down through her French heritage. The recipe is for Sour Cream Bowties, which are a yeast-based dough that's rolled in layers with a vanilla extract and sugar mixture in between (I have yet to post the recipe!). They are simply to DIE for, and they're the highlight of our Christmas dessert. We've developed a sort of "competition" among my mom, aunt, and grandmother to see whose turns out the best. It's kind of a joke, because my aunt's are ALWAYS the best hands-down. We ask her what she does differently, and every year she says innocently and with a smile she just follows the recipe, but will drop a hint or two of something different. It drives my mom and grandmother nuts, but we all end up laughing. =)
My cooking triumphs
The Thanksgiving of 2005, I was alone and in graduate school and in a 16-hour long-distance relationship with my then-boyfriend (now husband). It appeared that our family tradition of aunts & uncles & cousins & grandparents all getting together for the Thanksgiving meal was not going to happen due to my grandfather being quite sick and it becoming emergent that he would need placement in a nursing home, which required all of my mom's generation getting involved to make that happen. However, despite my semester projects, lack of holiday break, and having never cooked a Thanksgiving meal before, I decided to have everyone over to my tiny apartment and host the holiday myself. It may not have been as elegant or as smooth as when the older generations have done it, but it ended up beautiful and remains one of my happiest Thanksgiving memories. To provide nourishment with food and hospitality to my family during that time (continued below under "My Cooking Tragedies"...)
My cooking tragedies
(...continued from above, "My Cooking Triumphs"...) To provide nourishment with food and hospitality to my family during that time meant the world to me, and my family tells me the only way we were able to see each at all for the holiday other was because I hosted it.
That turned out to be my grandfather's last Thanksgiving. He was a legendarily happy and loving man, who encouraged me to do what I loved and get good at it. He knew how much I loved being in the kitchen. And I am so glad he hung on long enough to let me cook him my first Thanksgiving dinner.