When did you start cooking?
I wanted to start cooking when I was about
two or three. My mother always let me play with the pots
& pans in the kitchen. I pretended to cook on a cardboard oven at age
I also had an Easy Bake oven in which I
made a lot of chocolate cakes (and ate them too).
Easy Bake Bundle - Oven and Mixes
It seemed I just wanted to cook
from a very young age and was very curious about what was going on in the
real creation on a real stove was puffy eggs. Most likely it came from my curiosity to see
what would happen if I used a scrambled egg mixture in an egg poaching
pan. By the time I was eleven I was making lemon meringue pie and
strawberry jam. We had our own garden and enjoyed fresh fruit and fresh
grown vegetables. My father really worked at enriching the soil on the
farm/campsite where we lived in Africa. He took so many rocks out of the soil and then
finally he started to grow his own tomatoes, corn and zucchini. I remember my
dad making fried zucchini blossoms as a child. We definitely never went
Why do you love multicultural
After touring Europe and working as a personal chef in both the
United States and Africa, I came to understand the "comfort food" of
the international family and the culinary preferences of the American palate. Cooks from every culture have made a unique contribution to our
kitchens. We should celebrate our cooking
heritage and take pride in the foods we have created using the ingredients we
have learned to love. I enjoy the flavors presented in many foods. From
curry to a delicate custard, there is an immense variety of flavors and
Whom do you most admire?
The women I admire the most are Barbara
Walters and Oprah. They can talk to anyone and are genuinely interested in
I also think Anthony
Robbins was influential and helped me change a lot of the ways I was
thinking at a pivotal point in my life. Carolyn
Myss helped me recognize my self-esteem issues and that helped me to pull
myself out of a very deep depression caused by the loss of a long-distance
When I was at a "rebirthing"
stage in my life I discovered a very healing
CD by Robert Shahidi and his influence on my life is significant. He helped
me to see that I was not alone in my goals and that living through emotional
pain was possible. After listening to that CD I started to refocus my energy and
think about life in a much less pessimistic way.
I admire the men and women in the world who find the time to
cook for their families even though they may have very little to cook with.
How do you relax?
Believe it or not, cooking is actually
relaxing for me. Lately, I've found I enjoy a bit of gardening and writing has
become a sort of hobby for me. See this page for my reviewing journey.
These days I find
myself reviewing books for Amazon. It is not only relaxing, it is
enlightening. Books hold most of the secrets to life. I also enjoy listening to
music or recorded books while reviewing or working on this site.
Cats Make me Happy
What makes you happy?
I love cats, cooking
and people caring about me. Nurturing our spiritual
only bring us more joy and happiness. For the best life, I
believe we should forgive, give, hope, laugh, encourage, love, play, read, serve
and think about positive things. I go through cycles and I've had to learn what
to do when feeling blue, but overall I am working on being more balanced.
Reading helps me stay focused and I love helping new authors and writing
reviews is very rewarding. I live for reviewing. I am probably at my happiest
when I'm either watching a movie recommended to me by my best friend or I'm
surfing at Amazon. I also like swimming, taking walks with my cats and talking
to friends about reviewing.
Who and what inspires you the most?
Sandra Lee, Christopher Kimball, James Beard
and Julia Child (through books), Sharon Tyler Herbst (she is such an expert on everything to do with
cooking) and all my friends and relatives
who have given me so many creative ideas for recipes and cooking techniques.
The inspiration for the recipes also comes from the foods I grew up
with and have sampled all over the world.
I am also inspired by Frances Mayes and
her experiences in her books about Tuscany. I
would run away if only I could, but there are too many books on my shelves. I
guess I could run away to Tuscany one day and write reviews from Italy although
I've always dreamed of having a home in Provence, France.
What is your idea of the perfect summer meal?
chicken salad with a balsamic dressing.
What is your idea of the perfect winter dessert?
Apple crumble with a rum-butter sauce. Everyone loves it!
What is the most difficult thing for you to say no to?
What are your favorite creature comforts?
Down comforters, hot chocolate in the winter and
a leather couch to lounge on while reading a good book. I also secretly love
Dark Chocolate Cupcakes - we tested these a lot :)
We are still trying to
find something wrong with them. Maybe one more test!
What was your most embarrassing moment in your cooking
After I was married, I invited my
grandmother and aunt over for dinner. I had a beautiful crystal bowl and had placed it in the freezer
filled with ice. Just as we were starting dinner, I brought it to the
table. The handle snapped off sending the bowl crashing into a crystal
salad bowl. My poor aunt had crystal all over her lap and plate. So
much for impressing your relatives. I've learned to never put crystal in
How do you save time?
I always carry a list of things to do.
If I am in
the neighborhood of a store I need to go to, I don't have to make another trip.
I shop mostly on the Internet. Even if you have to return an item, it beats standing in line at a
department store. I used to buy all my groceries online, but lately I find
going to the store is more enjoyable and you can pick
out the produce you are happy with instead of being satisfied with what the
grocer brings to your home. Amazon.com does have a new gourmet store that
looks just intriguing. I've started to review various items.
A Store I Love
Amazon's Gourmet Food Store
What is the best advice you ever received?
"Follow your Dream."
Who are you in reality?
I'm a Gen Xer (born
1967), so I
tend to see the world through rose-colored glasses. I'm also a complete Virgo:
practical, analytical, perfectionist, a real romantic. I'm not good at
pretending to be anyone I'm not. Living in the moment leaves me more satisfied.
I'm also a "mystery-seeker" and seem to be drawn instinctively to the
edge of my knowledge. I get energy from not knowing and also love testing out
new ideas. I'm curious about a wide range of subjects and my reviews tend to
reflect that aspect of my personality. I'm seeking to understand and I can be insatiably
My father nicknamed me "question box" as a child. I enjoy playing with words and
ideas. My minor was
psychology so I'm also interested in knowing how people think and why. Mystery
Seekers will often "Experiment and even willingly include self as part of
Projects make me restless until I complete them. I'm
completely devoted to each project I undertake and work at it until it is
completed. The problem is, I'm overly creative at times and have more ideas
than I can handle by myself.
I am driven to
achieve some measure of success. I'm probably overly conscientious and can
become a bit obsessive when involved in project that hold a deep interest for
me. I like critical analysis, but have to try not to be too critical and
When someone mentions an idea to me, I put it on
the backburner and then all of a sudden I will be looking at a magazine, see an
article, and have to send it to them. It is as if I forget the thought for the
moment, but it is simmering in my mind. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and a
solution to a problem will just pop into my head as if I was working on it all night in my sleep.
I tend to be more aesthetically
aware and appreciate the beauty in life. To me, life is a series of commitments
and I thrive in places where security is valued and nourished. I have been told
I have the "gift of helps" in that I would rather cook than be
entertained. Although lately, I've been eating out more.
I am driven to participate in
online life and
tend to be deeply committed to any cause I take on as a project. I am the most
self-disciplined when I have a cause or a project. Most would say I am a
"blue" personality. That is not blue as in sad, but is a personality
What is your vice?
Until recently, I didn't know people
could be addicted to online life. I work online, so it isn't like I'm just
hanging out, but still, I mean, the Internet is so entertaining.
The Internet can help you form connections in your mind that you
didn't even know existed. I think better while I'm working online.
What is the best feeling in the world?
Being in love with life.
to Interview III