I was born in central Texas, two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. My father (Dutch and French) and
mother (Irish and Scot Irish) were also from good Texan stock. Both were from farm families who lived through the
Great Depression and knew how to "eat and live off the land". Many of my "cooking roots" come from the foods
they knew as farm kids and traditional Texas cooking.
After graduating from Texas Technological College (now University) with a degree in Clothing and Textiles, I married
Denis, the only son of Max (Italian) and Eleanor (French), all three born in California. They added new dimensions to
my eating and cooking experience, because of the influence of the taste of California, Italy and France and the
families' great love of food and entertaining. Denis' grandfather was a well-known pastry chef in the early 1900's at
renown San Francisco restaurants, such as the Mark Hopkins, Palace and St Francis Hotels.
When I married I developed a great love of cooking because I had willing subjects and objective critics, Denis and his
family and later my children, Audrey and Michael. We've had much enjoyment cooking and entertaining our friends,
family and business associates of all ages and cultures.
We have met so many friends in these last 40 years who have shared with us the joys of many regional and ethnic
dining experiences. From them we have learned to open our minds and relish the diversity and bounties of our planet.
Growing up with Carleta as a mother is it any wonder I enjoy cooking? As teenagers, my parents were usually too tired
from work and carting us around to our various activities to cook dinner on weeknights; so my brother and I began
cooking dinner ourselves. Sometimes it was just "blue box" Mac and Cheese with hot dogs in it, but it was a start.
When I met my future husband at Whittier College, I found a kindred cooking spirit in his mother. From her I have picked
up some Romanian and Hungarian dishes as well as some good old-fashioned midwestern US cooking and, of course, -
My school and swim club friends were an eclectic mix including Tawainese, Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Thai,
German, French, Irish, Mexican, etc. etc. etc. I loved eating at their homes as well as at some awesome gourmet potlucks
with homemade goodies we used to have. Once I settled on my carreer in the computer industry in Southern California
my taste buds were further influenced by Vietnamese and Korean cuisines.
Now, the biggest influence on my cooking is my son. Anyone that has cooked for a young child knows this means
experiment, experiment, experiment since his tastes change every day. Waffles are yummy one day and thrown on the
floor the next. I try to live by the advice of Jeff Smith (The Frugal Gourmet) to not let my food prejudices influence my
child's tastes. Just because I think beets are vile doesn't mean I shouldn't introduce them to him.
I began cooking at a young age for pretty much the same reason Audrey did – we were hungry and our parents were working hard and late!
I came home from school, prepared some Hamburger Helper, rode my bike 3-4 miles to swim practice then come home and ate a full dinner
with the family.
Skipping ahead about a decade, I moved to New Orleans and worked as a bartender for awhile (Hurricanes anyone?) then moved on to
cooking. I worked in restaurants ranging from fried chicken joints to cajun to ”white tablecloth” french bistros, including owning a place in the
Central Business District. Courtesy of ”Uncle Sam”, I was airlifted to Raleigh, NC after spending the week post-Katrina just a few blocks from
the Lower 9th Ward. One day I walked into the French restaurant where I worked to find that it had been sold and it was going to be a
Spanish restaurant starting that night – here are the recipes get started. Now I am at Sparians, a bowling alley/sports bar/night club.
Any recipes posted on this site are my own creations and not those served at any of the restaurants.
|a collection of recipes dedicated to good friends and good food