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7/11: I hope to revise this soon, since it was written when this site was called RecipeZaar!
Around 1999, while I was working and had children at home, I was an okay cook who excelled only at a few family recipes. I began "surfing" on Zaar for fast and easy recipes. As time went on, I begin making more adventurous dishes and desserts found in the forums. After awhile I stopped being a lurker, became a premium member in 2005 and began posting on forums when I had a question about a cooking method or recipe. Thanks to so many members and the enthusiasm for cooking I developed through them, I’m now considered a good cook and develop many of my own recipes. .
When the kids were grown and I was no longer working, what started as a place to find new recipes and have occasional questions answered turned into a community made up of varied and interesting people. Zaar has so much more to offer than just recipes and cooking tips – games, swaps, varied forums, interesting discussions and real friendships. Now that we're retired, the BBQ Forum has taught us a lot about grilling and smoking. Also, since we hate to waste food, the innovative ways of "recycling" leftovers into totally different types of meals is also a great side-benefit from the OAMC forum. The Beverage Forum is lots of fun, since "happy hour" starts earlier here in "seniorland" than when we were working! But the Community Cafe is where I seem to head to to visit with and make new friends. They seem to put up with me, as I guess I'm a cross between a dirty old lady and a mother hen. I feel privileged to have met many of my "cyberfriends" in person around the country..
I am hoping you enjoy the recipes I have posted and welcome comments. I try to thank everyone who reviews one of them, but if I "drop the ball" or if you can't receive Zmail, please know how much I appreciate you taking the time to make one of my recipes.
I'm a dinosaur when it comes to taking digital photos of my recipes and getting them into my computer. Because of that, cyberhugs go out to anyone who takes the time to take/post pictures of my dishes in Zaar!
I do not consider myself a gourmet. I consider myself a "foodie" who cooks because I like to eat good food and put good food on the table for my family and friends. Mainly for this reason, I have difficulty staying with the black-and-white rating system of 1 to 5 stars. So, here is mine:
5* ... I loved it and will make it again, I might have done very small changes, but recipe is good as it stands.
4* ... A great recipe I'll make again, but will make more than a few changes to get it to my liking
3* ... Good, but we will not be making it again.
0* ... If a recipe is has potential but has obvious mistakes in either preparation steps, cooking times, or ingredient omissions, I will give a 0* to offer corrections or suggestions, so as to not affect the rating..
I do not give out 1* and 2* reviews, because so much about cooking is personal preference. What may be delicious to some might have flavors and textures that totally gross other people out! Different strokes for different folks, and I am not up to trashing someone’s recipe because of my personal tastes. I hope people show me the same courtesy. Suggestions/comments are helpful, rudeness cheapens the person who is rude.
I've had vision problems plus a retina disease called retinopathy prematuria since birth, but never let it stop me until the last few years when I had to quit driving becausee of it. I moved from "sweet home Chicago" to rural San Diego County, CA, in 2004 when my husband retired. Sadly, we are not near our much-loved children and beautiful grandchildren, who live in Florida, Minnesota, IL and Arizona. Our treasured friends in IL are missed terribly. The time I pass in the forums talking about cooking or whatever has helped the transition from moving from the city to the country and becoming an empty nester confined to home a little more bearable.
Favorite things? First of all, I love people...young, old, nothing in common, it doesn’t matter. All are potential friends. I love restaurants! From divey diners to 4-5* snobberies, I love them all. I remember various towns we’ve been through by the restaurants we stopped at. My best friend has decided that it’s not the food that I eat at these restaurants, it’s reading the menus! After thinking about it, she’s absolutely right. Don’t hold your breath waiting for me to decide what to eat... every selection has to be scrutinized and mulled over before a final decision is made, and then I sometimes still ask the server if I can substitute! Menus are like recipes... I just love food, and reading about it sometimes is so satisfying that by the time the food comes it’s an afterthought.
I'm addicted to old musicals from the 30s and 40s and films from historical eras are treasured, especially set in England. I'm a history buff, enjoy decorating, plus like reading grisly crime novels, playing Scrabble, and silly card games aimed at 10 year-olds. Playing blackjack at local casinos (within reaso of course??) is fun for me. Most of all I love being with friends and family, and wish I wasn’t thousands of miles away from most of them.
Favorite dishes to make: Appetizers, soups, Greek food, brunch dishes, my mom's potato salad, some special Polish recipes learned from my husband's late gr4andmother, cakes and anything my kids request. Being Irish, I love potatoes, but turn my nose up at frozen or instant varieties.
Restaurant Foods to Order: Most any food, especially Mexican, Greek, Italian, BBQ, and crab legs -- along with corresponding drinks of choice, of course!. A thick rare steak with fresh mushrooms is a delicacy to me, plus I've rarely met an appetizer I didn't like.
When I die, I hope to go to the big restaurant in the sky offering tons of menus to read, all the while carrying around a never-ending supply of chocolate.