"I write this sitting in the kitchen sink." ~ I Capture the Castle, Dodie Smith
Even in my earliest memories, I have loved to cook and bake. My family is a big, loud, Italian family (Sicilian, to be specific), and let's face it - food is pretty important to Italians. You can't get away from food, not with an Italian grandmother. So you'd better learn to love it.
My love of the kitchen and all that goes with it was fostered early on by a mother and an aunt who also cooked and baked. As soon as I was old enough to help, I did. Cookies, pies, cakes (okay, maybe just licking the beaters when someone made the frosting), homemade macaroni, even the simplest things like toasted cheese.... I'm happy in the kitchen.
But you want the basics, don't you? Well, here they are. By trade, I'm not a chef or a baker. I'm a second grade teacher. Teaching has been my calling since third grade. I've been teaching since 2006, and I love it more each year. There's just something about taking a little child in hand and watching him or her learn to read, to watch those eyes light up when they get something for the first time. And nothing beats little hands holding yours when you walk down the hall at school, or when twenty-some-odd kids each year confess how much they love you - even Little Mr. Macho who wouldn't admit it in front of anyone else for the world.
In addition to teaching, I love to write, and have ever since I could put words together in a sentence. In fact, it's my life's dream to become a published novelist. Still working on it, it seems to be slow going....
My free time is usually taken up by things like exercise, reading, puttering around my house and garden, crafty things like crochet, and enjoying life with my darling husband.
He really enjoys my cooking, by the way.
Even though I've got all those other hobbies, nothing relaxes me quite like cooking and baking. For some reason, even managing a meal as complicated as Thanksgiving dinner, when you need to have everything ready at the same time, I'm in my element - I'm in the zone. And cooking adventures make me happy. When I'm happy, I bake; when I want to cheer up, I bake. My house is constantly overflowing with delicious smells. Sometimes my experiments are a flop (and my husband willingly consumes them with very little complaint, at least until I critique myself and he agrees that I had a cooking-fail).
I have a couple kitchen muses to help me on my way. I've taken a page from Julia Child's book and learned to say, "Oh well!" when something boils over or doesn't turn out perfect. And then there's my great-grandmother, whose cooking and baking genes I've inherited and nurtured. Nana's looking down on me. I bet she's got a spoon in my pot every now and then....