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Monday, February 1, 2010

Where my obsession began with cooking.

Today is January 31, 2010. Let me introduce myself. My name is Melissa and I am a 41 one year married mother of three. Let me say I love to cook. I wouldn't even say love. I would say I am obsessed. My obsession with cooking began first with my love of food. As a child I grew up with a family of amazing cooks. Any social gathering always involved food. There was always a wide variety of stuffed cabbage, homemade noodles, pasta, halushki, etc. The food was always overly abundant. Everyone would talk and eat until quite uncomfortably full. At the end of the festivites, all would be leaving with PLATES of leftover. No food was ever thown away. This was probably was the result of a humble background. With both my parents coming from large families and both grandfathers being miners, money was always tight for my parents growing up.
My mother was a homemaker, as most were at that time. She was always cooking or baking in the kitchen. I fondly remember FAMILY dinners. Dinner was always promptly served at 5:00. Dinner was always a home style meal ranging from stuffed peppers, pork chops, spaghetti, and homemade noodle over mashed potatoes with roast. Yummy. I remember peeling those potatoes with a paring knife and being the one in charge of mashing. One meal that I enjoyed was macaroni and milk.
I think the best cook was my grandmother Minnie. Oh how I miss her! She made the most amazing food. The three dishes that I remember the most were her homemade fudge, spanish rice, and pumpkin pie! She would stand over the stove making the fudge or spanish rice for hours. Always in the silver cast iron pot. She would pour her fudge on to a plate to harden. The pieces would be in random pieces when cut. My cousins and I would devour it in minutes. He spanish rice was so creamy with large pieces of pork chops and chicken wings. Yum!
So when did I become obsessed with cooking? I can not really pinpoint the moment. It started gradually. I would cook very little in college unless you consider ramen noodles cooking. Lol. I would say I started to enjoy cooking after I had my third son Ryan. I was able to resign from my job and stay home. I started reading cookbooks and trying new recipes. Than I started experimenting and straying from the recipes. I started making recipes to "taste". At this point I was still only "dabbling" in the art of cooking. Than I started having weekly football Sundays with friends. Either at my house or thieirs. When invited somewhere, I never went empty handed. I always brought a covered dish. When I entertained at my house it was exciting for me to plan what my theme would be and what I would be serving. Friends started complimenting on what an amazing cook I was. I soared when my food was complimented and devoured. Each week I would try to "out do" my last dish.
So this brings me to the present day. I am so obsessed with cooking that at any given time, you can find me pondering over a cook book or cooking magazine with the cooking show on. Always pen and paper in hand. Learning new techniques, herbs I have never cooked with, and foods I have never tried. I have learned to brine, correct knife skills, and how I love my dutch oven. My daughter Nicole stated one day that her friends always say they love coming to our house because there is always homemade food offered or being made. They love the smell and the feeling of being welcomed.
I plan to share my creations as well as some secret family recipes on this blog. I hope you will enjoy this and begin to become your own food artist if you have not already.

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