I met my husband because of a tornado, one of those random events you don’t recognize as life-changing at the time.
Our first date was a 4th of July celebration. A few months later, he was asking my parents for Christmas present ideas.
Dad suggested a cookbook; mom proposed an engagement ring. I still don’t know who mortified me more, but by Christmas day I had both.
I still have that cookbook in my collection. I don’t use it often, but that’s OK because, to me, it’s more than a cookbook. I see it and remember how nervous my husband was when he gave it to me, hoping I wouldn’t take it the wrong way. I remember the first dinner I made for him, the pumpkin pie I ruined, and the look on his face when I catch him sneaking a bite of cookie dough. There are memories tied to the recipes I’ve made, even those that didn’t turn out like I’d hoped.
I’m not a culinary expert. I’m simply a person who enjoys cooking and finds delight in making food for others.
I love how I feel when I try a new recipe and my family likes it. I love how bringing a container of cookies to work makes a Monday better. And I’ve loved the e-mails and letters I’ve received from Gazette readers with comments about the stories I’ve told and the recipes I’ve shared. I even love the correspondence that includes a “no fail” sugar cookie recipe from well-meaning strangers who believe I’ll achieve success someday.
It’s been an honor to write about Eastern Iowa’s food scene, from annual chili cook-offs to nationally-recognized chefs. We are lucky to live in a place where we can dine on fried butter at the state fair and heirloom tomatoes at the farmers market. It’s my hope that my time covering food for The Gazette was both informative and entertaining. I consider it a highlight of my journalism career, one I’ll remember fondly as I embark on a new path.
So while this is good-bye, it also isn’t. I’ll still be writing Everybody Eats on a freelance basis, an opportunity I’m thrilled to have because maybe, someday, I’ll finally have a triumphant sugar cookie story to share. For now, though, I leave you with the recipe of the first dinner I ever made for my husband. Thank you for reading; happy eating!
ANGEL HAIR PASTA WITH CREAMY MUSHROOM SAUCE
Cook pasta according to directions on the package.
In a medium saucepan, cook the mushrooms and onion in the butter until vegetables are tender. Stir in cream cheese, salt and pepper. Cook a stir over low heat until the cheese is melted. Gradually stir in milk, chives and chicken; heat through.
Pour sauce over pasta. Toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Recipe adapted from “Pasta (Cooking for Today)” by Better Homes and Gardens Books (May 15, 1993)