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Another meme, with my favorite Dane (I'm deliberately not including Viggo...!) Zarah Maria of Food and Thoughts, tagging me this time.
What is your first memory of baking/cooking on your own?
Yikes...I suppose it was in middle school, when I'd get to make dinner for the family before Mom got home and my step-dad (who worked nights) woke up. Things like meat loaf, or pizza; we were definitely small-towners!
Who had the most influence on your cooking?
Good grief! I think the biggest influence on my cooking was the fact that I didn't have an influence.
My parents cooked, but I wasn't crazy about the stuff they made. Part of it came from stretching the old dollar, but in reality...stuffed peppers? Cabbage rolls? Goulash? Gagh.
I think my grandparents had more of an impact on me; I consider Grammy's chilli, Irish beef stew, and hot ham and cheese sandwiches (ground up together) staples I never make.
But I always knew I wanted to try other things, more 'exciting' foods. An ex-friend's ex-fiance was a sous chef for a restaurant in Pittsburgh, and he made a chicken dish I was in love with (this was, obviously, before I gave up meat). He generously gave me his recipe, which I to this day call 'Anthony's Chicken'.
I started clipping recipes out of magazines and newspapers. And it was around this time I did, in fact, become a vegetarian...so I got to start all over again!
So...I don't think I really had a culinary influence. Huh.
Do you have an old photo as evidence of an early exposure to the culinary world and would you like to share it?
I don't, actually. One, I never liked being photographed. Two...my family never would have thought to take a picture like that. Besides, all the cooking I did was when no one else was home!
Mageiricophobia - do you suffer from any cooking phobia, a dish that makes your palms sweat?
Hmmm...it used to be yeast-based doughs, but I seem to have conquered my fears there. And while I don't eat meat, I do make it for Matt...but I won't touch lamb or fish. Lamb, because...c'mon! Cute little fluffy lambs; one day they're frolicking along the countryside, the next? Ground up on a slab of Styrofoam.
And fish because...eewwww!
What would be your most valued or used kitchen gadgets and/or what was the biggest letdown?
I adore my hand-held immersion blender my Mom and Grammy gave me as a wedding shower gift. We've used it so much, it's actually falling apart! Time for a new one, I suppose.
Our OXO 4-cup measuring cup; no more squatting to see exactly how close to the 1 1/4 cup mark I've come.
Biggest letdown: Can't think of any just now...
Name some funny or weird food combinations/dishes you really like - and probably no one else!
I'm a salty/sweet fiend. If I eat chocolate, I want pretzels or potato chips to go with.
And not that I eat fast food these days, but I always loved dipping my French fries into my chocolate shake.
What are the three eatables or dishes you simply don't want to live without?
Mashed potatoes. Yogurt. Raspberries.
Any question you missed in this meme, that you would have loved to answer? Well then, feel free to add one!
Your favorite ice-cream?
Vanilla, because you can add so much to it. And if it's a really good brand...you don't need the extras!
You will probably never eat?
Meat ever again.
Your own signature dish?
The most amazing chocolate chip cookies...
Question added by Zarah: On average, how many times a week would you cook something to satisfy your sweet tooth?
Zero. I rarely have a sweet tooth; I've always been a salty snacker.
Your fantasy date has just shown up at your house (suspend disbelief for a few minutes, will ya?); what do you feed them?
I'd probably make some crostini with sundried tomatoes, fresh herbs and cheese, grill some chicken (using more fresh herbs...love that garden!), a rice dish with pistachios and dill (yes, from the garden...the plant's almost as tall as me!), and fresh fruit dipped into a chocolate, caramel and butterscotch fondue.
And, last but not least:
Tag three people!
I'm officially 'tagging' Becky, of Becky's Recipes, by request.