I grew up in the kitchen cooking with my family, which are some of my best childhood memories. I grew up in the country not far from Lake Michigan in Indiana with my parents and my sister. My dad loved to garden, so every summer we would have a large garden full of vegetables (corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, and more). We would spend the summer eating dinners primarily made from the food we grew, which is probably why I am such a fresh veggie fan today and love going to farmers markets.
My mom would also can many of the vegetables so we would have the taste of summer in the middle of the long mid-western winters. As I grew older I was able to help out more with the garden and would pick out my own plants to care for. I would always get cherry tomato plants since they are my favorite…I loved to eat the tomatoes right off the vine and I think I ate more than made it to the table. It seems that at a young age I learned the value of fresh food and how getting the best ingredients makes for a wonderful family meal.
Aside from gardening and cooking, I grew up writing as well. I would write all kinds of short stories and poems throughout the years, which proved to be a good way to express myself, however, I never saw it as a career.
It was my Grandma Ruth who believed that I would be a writer someday, and while I chose to go a different path…getting my PhD in Organizational Psychology…I have made my way back to writing and I have my husband, David, to thank for that.
With my love of cooking and writing I contemplated writing a cookbook containing the various recipes I had created and perfected over the years. As with everything in life, things changed, but it was for the better. My husband and I welcomed our wonderful son, Marco, into our family. As I started looking for fun boy-themed books for Marco I found that there were not many out there and even fewer books about food and cooking. So my husband made a suggestion, “Why don’t you write a children’s book about cooking” and Marco the Little Chef was born.
Marco has been in the kitchen cooking with me since he was a newborn in his baby Bjorn and he has not stopped. I believe that getting him involved in cooking and what he is eating for dinner has opened his interest in food…how many toddlers do you know that love roasted eggplant and brie on a baguette?
In my first book I share my passion for cooking and teaching about the origins of the ingredients that go into the great dishes I am passing along to my family.
My hope is to get other parents excited about cooking with their children and to help this along I have provided an easy homemade Macaroni and Cheese recipe that your kids will love making and eating.