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I was raised in a very large family which attributed to my mother spending a great deal of time in the kitchen cooking, cleaning, and preparing. I was fascinated at how she prepared wonderful dishes (especially desserts) without using a cookbook.
We grew many of our own fruits and vegetables and my summers were spent washing jars and preparing fruit and vegetables for canning. I dreaded the mountains of green beans, tomatoes, peaches, etc., etc. that had to be picked, washed, peeled, snapped.... More than anything, I hated spending my summers washing jars!
But now, I wouldn't trade my upbringing for anything. I'm glad I learned how to do all those things because it's becoming a lost art. It really was a simpler time then and I'm a much better person for knowing how to do those 'old fashioned' things.
I have to confess that I actually enjoy reading cookbooks and recipes more than cooking.
I believe recipes are a tool to guide us along as we create a dish to enjoy. Most of us tweak ingredients in order to use what we have on hand, leave out something we don't like, or add something we think might improve the dish. All that is fine, however, it isn't fair to change the recipe and then give a lower rating since the change can adversely affect the results--just a little food for thought.
I love dishes that are bursting with rich, aromatic flavors of garlic, lemon, or cinnamon. Whether it be a moist apple cake or spicy chicken fajitas, I love big, bold flavors. I also enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables, blueberries, strawberries, and fresh pineapple, broccoli, tomatoes, and cheese (oh, that isn't a vegetable or a fruit, darn!).