Many food bloggers describe precious memories taking inspiration from mothers or grandmothers. Inexplicably I have few such memories.  I recall asking my grandmother to make some of her signature dishes and she always obliged. My only clear memory of helping my mother in the kitchen was with making cabbage rolls and  “Ann’s Cookies” (and in time I will post that recipe.)

As newlyweds our main cookbook was “101 Ways to Make Hamburger” and these creations were often served next to mashed yams that came from a can. That first kitchen pantry included Spam, canned Vienna sausages, and someone’s favourite breakfast was chocolate cake and Coca Cola.  (Since the day that a puffy can of Spam exploded, we have never eaten it again – though I hear it remains popular in Hawaii.)  As we began to travel and eat out, I gradually became more accomplished at cooking.  It is my bliss, and also my Zen.  Coaxing ingredients into becoming satisfying creations can be very peaceful.

It has been said that good writers do/must read a lot.  If it follows that good cooks must eat a lot - I have been doing my best.  With no costly vices or hobbies, pennies saved have put me in front of some of the most amazing meals.  (See Likes: Eat)

I have attended many cooking classes, wishing always that I could be the assistant - a wish that came true!

Chefs I have taken classes from include: Mark Picone;  Blacktree: Matteo Paonessa;  Terroni – Giovanna Alonzi;  retired Swiss-French chef André Donnet;  Daphna Rabinovitch;  Emily Richards

Chefs I have worked with include: