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My husband and I have lived in our condo high above downtown Philadelphia for 30 years before a heart attack took him.
I've loved cooking since I was barely big enough to see the top of the table. At 7, I started reading the Little House series and stories of the US colonial era, and became very curious about how food was made before there were mixes and packages--from scratch. My mother is a pretty sorry cook; there are no family recipes. She is convinced that cooking means slavishly following Betty Crocker compendium recipes. But somehow, I always felt the art of it, and as an adult taught nieces and goddaughters to cook not by reading recipes and the backs of boxes, but by choosing things that look good at Philadelphia's famous Reading Terminal Market, taking them home and considering taste and texture then showing them techniques for achieving the deliciousness they imagine.
I learned much of this from an unusual high school home ec teacher, and watching Julia Child and the Galloping Gurmet (in his original, pre-religion form) on TV, then later from a dear friend who graduated from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.
I am now retired from my career in TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages), 35 years during which most of my students were late teens and adults, and during which I lived in Spain and South Korea as a teacher (although I spent most of my career in college ESL programs in Philadelphia). I've been blessed to travel extensively, and have stood, notebook in hand, at the elbows of cooks from Spain to Ukraine, Taiwan to S. Korea. Students living in the US have invited me into their homes where, again, I stood at elbows in the kitchens of Saudi, Kuwaiti, Argentine, French, Dutch, Austrian, Moroccan, Burmese, Malaysian, Vietnamese and other cooks. I love preparing meals drawing on all I've learned from these wonderful, generous cooks.
I also love the cooking of my home city, Philadelphia. We are so much more than cheesesteaks! Now I'm retired in Florida and love sharing my cooking with new friends here.
I adore smoked salmon, raw oysters with lemon juice, cheese of all kinds (natural, though, not processed), Malaysian coconut milk-based curries, sampling all sorts of exotic foods, all kinds of fresh fruits. My friends say I make the best white clam chowder and bake great bread. I love to try all kinds of new recipes, and especially enjoy the ones I get from my international students. I love to create new recipes from ingredients that look good. When traveling abroad, I want a chance to visit the local markets and have a place to cook my finds. I collect cookbooks, including antique ones.