Meal Photo

Creative Cook Spices Up

As unbelievable as it may sound, I started cooking when I was 5. My maternal grandfather owned three Italian restaurants and kept me perched at his side in the kitchens of his businesses.

My first job was to tear salad greens at one of my grandfather's restaurants. Early on, I learned that a good salad adds much to a meal and that it's easy to mix up homemade dressings.

Vinaigrette Photo Berry Vinaigrette was created in honor of one of my college professors, who has become a wonderful friend and loves everything raspberry. It has a fruity flavor and a ruby-red color.

I am a retired high school honors English teacher…and have also taught sign language and speed reading. After my retirement, I taught culinary classes at a local college, with my 83-year-old mother as my sous (assistant) instructor. What a great experience it was!

She and my father gave me free rein as a child in our family kitchen. They always ate whatever I cooked (whether it was good or not) and helped to clean up.

Every time I serve Cheesecake Praline Squares, I get requests for the recipe. It began as a recipe I clipped from a magazine…and has evolved into a fabulous dessert. The creamy texture and praline flavors are sure winners.

I love to entertain in any fashion—from casual gatherings to multicourse dinners. Casual for me usually means a dozen or more appetizers served with various beverages…or a soup-and-bread party where I prepare three or four soups and several homemade breads.

I am also a director for a large community credit union and for years served as a director and president of a national antique car club. I met Bruce, a widely known Model T expert, through the club. We were married in 1991 and have a 1923 Model T in the garage!

When I have free time, I garden, make fancy hand-dipped chocolates and paint sweatshirts to sell at craft shows.    Our home is the favorite "eating place" for many of our friends and family members. That's a wonderful compliment! So I always have enthusiastic tasters for new recipes…or tried-and-true ones like those that make up my favorite meal. I hope you'll enjoy it soon.