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I've loved to cook because, from an early age, my favorite memories were of my grandmothers' and great aunt's cooking and nothing makes me happier than to recreate a recipe that conjures up those wonderful memories by recreating their terrific cooking. After all, there's not much for a kid to fall in love with at an early age but good cooking. G-D forbid, if my house caught fire everyone who knows me would know that the first thing I'd grab would be my recipe box (that is actually a large, aluminum lunchbox). Seeing my grandma's and great aunt's handwriting on their recipe cards (now some 70 years old) warms my heart and makes my mouth water. I have about 200 cookbooks, down from 300; but, I still have to buy them when someone who inspires me writes one. My family and friends never turn down an invitation for meals and I love feeding them because in the end the best epitaph for someone--and the one that you see in peoples eyes--is when they say "what a great cook 'so and so' was!"--and you can see them recalling the memory of that person's cooking in their eyes, as they lick their lips. Food memories last the longest and are so beloved, aren't they? Plus, a good cook is never lonely and their family is never far away from their cooking!
p.s. I love planning menus and even love to recreate restaurant meals and make them healthily--and better--at home. Cooking for me is relaxing and therapeutic and I really hate it when I spend good money at a restaurant and while I'm eating I'm thinking that my cooking is so much better. Not always; but usually so. Always cooking from scratch with love--and sharing it with family and friends.