For me, November begins the season of cooking and the celebration of comfort foods. The smell of warm, freshly baked bread, or a pot of chili simmering on the stove, bring back strong childhood memories of comfort for me. I learned to cook from my Mom, who sent me off to college with a hand-written notebook filled with all the recipes I enjoyed at our family table. I still have the notebook, and some thirty plus years later, I’m still cooking some of the same recipes – many of them now with my own twist on flavor.

Because I grew up in a household that loved to cook (and no surprise – loved to eat), I’m caught off guard when I talk to people who can’t identify with my experience. They either don’t know how to cook, don’t want to learn to cook, or are just happy with their frozen dinners, canned soup, or carry-out foods of convenience. Heck, I understand being a victim of convenience with my own hours of work and personal schedule. But to not want to cook or know how to cook, what’s that all about?

This summer while on vacation, I picked up the book “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell, a story about a New York City woman who decided to cook her way through the 524 recipes of Julia Child’s first cookbook, “Mastering The Art of French Cooking” over the span of one year. I thought about watching Julia Child on tv with my Mom back in the 1970’s, and sampling the many recipes she tried to cook from that book. I thought about what a challenge that would be to commit to cooking every recipe and writing about the experience. Now I know I have no interest whatsoever in the regiment of going through any cookbook recipe by recipe for any reason. But I must say I was intrigued by the concept of what one might learn by doing so.

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