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I wish that I could respond to today’s prompt with something that is not superficial, or at least something of more substance. However, after thinking about it, I realized that most people don’t comment on how nice a person is, how educated or organized a person is, or how dedicated a person is to their work; at least not often to their face. People often comment on how cute someone’s clothes are, how pretty their hair looks, or “My God, where did you get those shoes?”

30 Days of Truth: Day 11: Something people seem to compliment you on the most.

I am the hostess with the mostess. I am the bringer of snacks, the provider of punch, the dealer of desserts. In short, I am a fantastic cook and baker. Now, I do not claim to be a Rachel Ray, Paula Dean, or Giada De Laurentiis; I am not a professional chef or pastry artist. I can not generally coordinate myself to make six courses so that each one arrives at the right time, grab six ingredients from the pantry and make a masterpiece, etc. However, I am fantastic at collecting, following, and tweaking recipes. I have a bit of a creative flair, and I also possess great control and skill with a knife. I like to cook, bake, cake decorate, and garnish, and I’m pretty damn good at it.

When I was little, I used to sit at the counter and “help” my mother make cookies. As I got older, my mother allowed me to do more of the baking and cooking in the house. I have several fond memories of my friends coming over to sit at my kitchen counter to watch me make cookies and then eat the dough. My mother continued to teach me how to make easy recipes like spaghetti, meatloaf, pancakes, and french toast, and she also taught me how to trim the fat off of raw chicken (a task I still despise).

When I got to high school, I took almost all of the culinary arts and creative foods classes that were offered. There I learned the beginning steps to cake decorating, how to garnish, and how to properly follow a recipe, handle a knife, and convert measurements. I made my first and second recipe collections, and tried more new foods during those two semesters than I had in my sixteen years of life prior to that class. I also learned how to garnish while in that class: making little red and white toadstool mushrooms out of radishes, a tropical island out of a potato, carrot, and green pepper, and a duck out of a yellow squash and a carrot. Once I left high school, I applied my garnishing skills to much larger vegetables.

Once I had down the basics, I began to expand my repertoire of kitchen skills by taking cake decorating classes through community education courses during my college years. In those classes, I learned how to manipulate fondant, make delicious and manipulable icing, and properly and professionally decorate a cake. Since then, I’ve made several creative birthday cakes for friends, and I’ve recently received payment for a cake I was commissioned to make for the sister of a previous student’s sixteenth birthday. I’ve also been commissioned to make an old student’s wedding cake for May 2011. (Yay! That means I’ll get to cross that off my bucket list!) Here are some of the cakes I’ve made:

I love the creative garnishing and cake decorating, but everyday cooking and baking are my favorite. One of the things I look forward to most about being a stay at home mom (someday), is the ability to actually cook dinner, rather than throw something in a skillet or microwave.  I believe that food brings people together. I love throwing parties or bringing food to other peoples houses. I love giving food as gifts, and making dinner for the people I love.  It was my lasagna that led my husband to fight for me to be his wife, among other things. A lasagna I have become famous for on my husband’s side of the family, regardless of the fact that it is made from a modified recipe I received from my old boss’ husband, which he modified from the recipe on the back of the no-boil lasagna noodle box, and I modified by adding more cheese/different kinds of cheese.  Still, I’d rather be complimented on a skill I’ve worked hard to develop than say, my shoes. 🙂