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I was raised in the Midwest, in downstate Illinois, and though the cooking of our time is not so regional as it was 100 years ago, the landlocked Heartland slant is still evident in my choice of dishes. I?m also partial to Japanese cooking, having spent a year in Japan as an exchange student nearly 30 years ago.
I was taught how to cook by my mother and grandmother, and spent many years in 4-H, which has a series of cooking and baking instruction projects. But I haven?t been professionally trained, nor have I cooked in a restaurant kitchen. I am simply an ambitious home cook. Back in the 1980?s I was cooking lacto-ovo vegetarian, but have backslid over the years and now cook quite a bit of meat.
Historical cooking is one of my interests. I was a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism for nearly 20 years off and on. I feastocrated a couple of times, and co-ran the household camp kitchen (cooking outdoors for 20) for several years.
Nearly 15 years ago, I discovered that I was gluten intolerant, and this forced me to find from scratch equivalents to stuff from cans and boxes or the nearby chain restaurant or takeout. So I am always interested in easy, fairly low effort, recipes for things that can be made from scratch. I also like to adapt wheat baked goods to gluten-free versions, and love supplying my father-in-law?s sweet tooth with new cake or brownie experiments.
After my son was born, I spent 5 years out of the paid workforce as a stay-at-home mom, and really ramped up my from scratch cooking efforts. Now I?m teaching him how to cook, trying to inspire the love of food science, and hopefully ramp him up to being able to take over some of the kitchen duty independently in a few years. I am also interested in storage food and off-grid cooking techniques ? we?ve lost power to ice storms in the winter at times ? one year for more than a week. Making things in the fireplace, thermos, solar oven, etc. is a fun challenge.