My grandmothers and mother were fantastic cooks. They understood how much happens for a family and friends over a good meal. When I serve food to others and enjoy it with them myself it deepens relationships. When I was a very young child my mother was ill so we had a wonderful German lady 'Hattie Benson' who lived with, and cooked with us. My playmate asked me if she was my grandma..."No," I said, "She's Our Cooker!" She made wonderful pastry, peeled fresh apples and put up 20+ pies at a whack in the freezer each fall for us to enjoy for an entire year. I remember her hugs - the flour on her apron and the essence of cinnamon on her that permeated throughout our home. So when I cook, I often think of Hattie and the love for me that she served up with her food. People gathering to prepare and share great food - good times and wonderful memories.
My favorite things to cook
Bread, pasta, salads, soups, stews, desserts, comfort food, ethnic foods - and, most of all - Thanksgiving Dinner.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Making homemade ice cream or homemade anything with the grand kids. Fresh baked pie - Lemon Merinque, Apple, Peach, Cherry, Peanut Cream. Pfeffernusse cookies at Christmas time (a family tradition handed down through 5 generations - have made them with my grandma since I was a small child and now make them with my grandchildren). Cracking fresh crab together around a candle lit table for Crab Louis with fresh baked bread. Watching my grown children love to cook and savoring together their 'discovered delights.'
My cooking triumphs
Lasagna. Fresh baked breads and rolls. Home made noodles. Homemade Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream - its to die for. My son has introduced us to Jim Lahey's recipes for no-knead home made/baked artisan bread that is so easy, good and economical we haven't purchased bread in months! Now my husband has taken it over creating new variations that are a constant hit with everyone with whom he shares it.
My cooking tragedies
Decorating cakes - ugh! (Although I had a cupcake making/ decorating party with my granddaughters last summer that was easy and fun and a big hit. I just provided everything and they got creative. Loved it!)