One of the items I had struggled with as child to cook was muffins. Yep, simple muffins. I would leave an ingredient out or put too much in or stir too long. Oh I had so much problems with them. It was one of my greatest accomplishments to not only be able to do them, but have my children love my muffins so much that they ask for them. Muffin problems were history.
I have had 2 recipes published. One in Taste of Home Magazine and one in a local Lewiston, Idaho cooking publication. I had entered a cooking competition and won an apron for my Low Fat Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe in Lewiston, Idaho. Those were great accomplishments for me.
I learned to cook from my mom. My mom was born and raised on Southern Idaho farm. The farm had cows and farmland; so meat was never a problem. My grandfather died when I was 1 1/2 years old, but from the stories I've been told, he was a meat and potatoes man. So that is what my mom was raised with. My mom had never had pizza until she met my dad. My parents have been together since my mom was in the 9th grade and my dad the 11th. My dad went in the army and my mom graduated then married him after graduation in Germany. They have been married for over 50 years.
I had many other influences though about food and cooking.
My dad was one of those influences. My dad lost his father at 7 years old and after that, life was very rough for many years. They were pretty poor, so there are some foods that came from my dad's side that were from the depression era. My grandma's side is German and from South Dakota. They knew how to survive on little. My dad made rice and milk, soft-boiled eggs, milk toast, bread pudding, rice pudding and other dishes that had milk, bread, eggs and rice. These basic dishes that you had and could make basic food out of it.
My grandma (my dad's mom) is a special lady. I don't remember everything she cooked for us while growing up, but I remember her cooking for the family. I also her making my favorite dishes when I came over to stay with her and my step-grandpa (grandpa is what I called him). Food and family ... those were special times in grandma's house.
My grandpa (technically my step- my dad's stepfather) -he was the only grandfather I ever knew. Both of my grandfathers died so I only knew him. He would take him out to restaurants and to the mall to his coffee shop to meet his friends. We would talk about our favorite foods. I loved my grandpa very much and miss him every day of my life. He spoiled me and treated me like a princess and for that I'll always be grateful for having him in my life after losing my other grandfathers.
My mom's friend and my former boss, Bonnie, she could cook and she was always learning new recipes and using old family recipes. I loved seeing what she would do next. She was always entertaining and had a big family. She came from a small town and a big family and I think she learned from her mom. She was a big influence in my life. I grew up in her house playing with her kids. We spent Christmas Eves at her house and there was always lots of food.
My husband has always been so supportive in my learning. If I wanted to try something or if it failed or if it succeeded... either way, he's always eaten what I've made and had suggestions for me or compliments. Cooking with my husband is one of my favorite things to do. We enjoy sharing the kitchen and cutting veggies together. We both admire Michael Simon, Bobby Flay and Anne Burrell. The Food Network has been a favorite of ours to watch and learn from.