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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Cooking Roots

 I recently made macaroni and cheese for a crowd, and while I am a well regarded cook, I hesitated to make an iconic food for relative strangers.  My husband reminded me that by making macaroni and cheese for multiple occasions in my children's youth I had become known for it.  It really is nothing particularly special, but it is a dependable meal of comfort food that does not fail to satisfy.  I have been making macaroni and cheese from Anna Thomas' cookbook 'The Vegetarian Epicure' for literally 40 years now.  I should have it down.

  I went to college in the late 1970s and I had very close to no ability to cook.  My mother made a dozen apple pies each fall, and I peeled and cut the apples for that endeavor.  So I had reasonable knife skills and the chocolate chip cookie recipe on the the back of the Nestles chocolate chip bag, and off I went to school.  To make matters worse, I didn't eat meat and I really did not like the food in the mass prepared food environs of college food services.
I joined a housing coop my sophomore year in college, and it was absolutely the best thing for me as a cook.  I learned to cook there.  I made bread often.  I made ethnic food from places I had never been, or in some cases, places I had not eaten the food even in restaurants.  It was not all good, but a lot of it was very good, and in the meantime, I learned.  And I took chances.  Thankfully my housemates at the time were very forgiving, and I still make things for a crowd that I have never made before.  Occasionally the food is terrible, so bad that I sweep it off the table and into the trash.  But most of the time it is good to great, and I have added yet another thing to my repertoire.  And while I have dozens and dozens of cookbooks, I still return to these two from my youth.

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