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I WAS retired oilfield trash since 1999, who has lived in Houston TX for the last 25 years, though I'm originally from California. I'm Texan by choice, not by chance! I am now working in Algeria 6 months a year, so I guess that gives new meaning to the term SEMI-retired. I grew up in restaurants and worked in them for 13 years while getting through high school and college, working as everything from dishwasher to chef, including just about everything in between. At odd intervals I also waited tables and tended bar, which gave me lots of incentive to stay in school and get my engineering degree.
During the 33 years since, I have only cooked for pleasure, and it HAS given me a great deal of pleasure. It's been my passion. I love to cook, actually more than I love to eat. I read cookbooks like most people read novels.
My wife and I both enjoy cooking, though she isn't quite as adventurous as I am. I keep pushing her in that direction, and she's slowly getting there.
We rarely go out to eat, because there are very few restaurants that can serve food as good as we can make at home. When we do go out, it's normally because we are having an emergency junk-food attack.
My pet food peeves are (I won't get into other areas): are people who post recipes that they have obviously NEVER fixed; obvious because the recipe can't be made because of bad instructions, or that are obvious because it tastes horrible. I also detest people who don't indicate that a recipe is untried, even when it is a good recipe. Caveat emptor!
My favorite cookbook is "The Jermain Cookbook", started in 1984 as a Christmas present for friends and family, and now up to well over 200 pages of tried and true recipes, with hundreds more on the 'to be tried' list. Probably, the most important of my 200 cookbooks is my raggedy 1981 edition of "The Joy of Cooking", which replaced an earler edition that went to my ex-wife.
I don't think I have a favorite dish, though my favorite dishes are probably the middle eastern ones passed on to me by my Lebanese father. I also enjoy oriental and most other Mediterranean cuisines, as well as a number of others. I love to smoke and barbecue, though that's limited to the cooler months of the year by lousy summer weather and mosquitos.
If a dish or a recipe sounds good, I'll probably try it at least once. Good ones go in 'the book', and bad ones, in the trash. I just love to try new dishes rather than eat the same things again and again.