My mother wasn't a cook, but I loved playing around in the kitchen and she gladly let me become the family cook when I was 12. That was back in the day when heat-and-eat foods came only in cans, when almost everything except bread was made from scratch. Even though my kids--six strapping sons--are on their own, I still cook from scratch, not only because it's cheaper that way, but also because food tastes so much better when the only processing it undergoes occurs in my kitchen. I grow my own vegetables and herbs; when the boys were growing up, I had chickens, too, and can teach you how to butcher one if you want to learn. One of my sons is a cook at an 81-room assisted living facility; another used to be a hospital cook--his wife constantly thanks me for teaching him how to cook so that she doesn't have to. I have two other daughters-in-law who let me barge into their kitchens frequently; they're not so reliant on the microwave to make meals for my seven grandchildren.
I volunteer at a community garden. Last year, our first, we grew 4,100 pounds of potatoes, corn, green beans and peas for the local food bank. This year, the weather's been cooperating and we hope to at least double the amount of last year's crops.
I am a former truck stop cook, cafe pastry chef, journalist (I still do a little free-lancing when the mood strikes) and I'm tyring to figure out how to put all my experience together so that I can feed the world.
- What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
- Dinuguan, a Filipino dish that's made of pork and pig's blood.
- What do you cook when home alone?
- Besides leftovers? Fish, because no one else here eats it unless it's deep fried.
- Your most treasured kitchen possession:
- The Ecko Eterna bread knife that I grew up with, which means it's more than 50 years old.
- The ideal number of guests for a dinner party is: