Let’s talk about what it takes to be a good cook. Everybody has different ideas, but here are mine:

  • Be willing to try everything before you decide you don’t like it;
  • Be willing to experiment, particularly with recipes;
  • Get creative and try combinations that you think would not ordinarily work together

When I was a kid, I wouldn’t touch fish of any kind with the exception of tuna fish sandwiches. Now I love it. Until maybe three years ago, when I met the love of my life, I refused to eat sushi. Today I eat it routinely.

I have two old memories that I love. When I was about 7 or 8, we’d go to church and then go over my grandmother’s house for Sunday dinner. The ‘gravy’ (we didn’t call it pasta sauce; it was gravy) would be bubbling on the stove. While nobody was looking, we’d dip Italian bread in it and steal meatballs. If my grandmother caught us dipping bread in the pan, she’d come flying out of the living room admonishing us in Italian. She didn’t like bread crumbs in her gravy.

The other childhood memory I have is about Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas because that’s when my dad would make ravioli by hand. I remember being at my grandmother’s house and watching my dad lay out what seemed to be hundreds of ravioli on a bed sheet covering my grandmother’s bed. When he got to the end he’d make a big ravioli for us to try. He’d call it the ‘papa’. When my dad died, my mother took over ravioli duty. When my mom passed away, my sisters took over. Last year my partner, Susan, and I hosted Christmas for the first time with her family. This time I made the ravioli.

I readily admit that I’m not a disciplined chef by any stretch. What I make is delicious, but when people ask me how I make it I usually reply, “I have no idea.” I don’t measure spices. I usually just add them until what I’m making tastes good, so this whole process of testing and writing recipes down is a new adventure for me. The good thing is that I’m enjoying it.

I am also not much of a baker, except when it comes to making homemade bread. Desserts aren’t my specialty because I don’t usually eat them. I promise they will come…sporadically.

In my youth, we were a “kitchen” family. That’s where we hung out. That’s how I learned to cook.

I hope you enjoy the recipes you choose to try. Please feel free to comment and share. Happy Eating!

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