January & Morgan (10 mths)
I have been teaching people how to cook since the age of 6. No joke, I have the picture to prove it! It all started in Mrs. D’Ericco’s first-grade class at Mary Snow Middle School in Bangor, Maine. I’m unsure whether I told my Mom that we were making bread in class the next day, and I asked if she would teach me how or whether she found out and offered to help me practice. All in all, we baked bread that night, and the next morning I confidently stood next to Mrs. D’Errico and instructed the class, step by step, how to bake a loaf of bread. Again, I’m not sure if Mrs. D’Errico asked or if I just took the lead (I’m sure those who know me and love me would guess the latter), but this was the beginning of my journey as a professional cook. I said professional, not paid.

My personal experience in cooking stems even farther back, so far back that I can’t even remember what I was cooking at the time. But I know that I was. Both my Mom and Dad are phenomenal cooks, and they had me helping in the kitchen as soon as I had the fine motor skills to stir a spoon in a bowl. My cooking style perfectly balances my Mom’s and Dad’s. I often refer to my Mom as the original Martha Stewart. I’m pretty sure Martha is older than my Mom, but I was influenced by my Mom’s perfected creations of everything domestic way before I had even heard of Martha Stewart. Most of the time, my Mom follows a recipe to the T and will work on the final product until it looks “just right.” On the other hand, my Dad rarely uses a recipe, throwing stuff together, but the outcome is always fantastic. From a young age, I have tasted homemade perfection, whether labored upon for hours or thrown together in minutes, and I strive to find that perfection in my own cooking.

I cannot have an about me section without mentioning my husband, Scott, and 10-month-old son, Morgan. The Golden Nugget Gourmet would not exist without Scott. He is my tech, photographer, and biggest cheerleader. Our son Morgan is my number 1 Golden Nugget. He has never eaten a jar of baby food, only homemade creations, so all potential suitors better get out of their easy bake ovens and start practicing.

Throughout this blog, I will offer stories of how lessons from the kitchen can make us better cooks and, more importantly, better people. Life is better when shared, and I have often shared my life on the plates that I serve my family and friends. I have always made my own path in life, so I have immersed myself in several cultures other than my own. Food is a bridge that can link people from other cultures together. Food allows people to share a little about themselves and their origins. The personal dishes that I include in this blog have influenced the compass that led me to where I am today. I hope that you will join me as I reflect upon my journey, and while hopping on my path, I hope you gain inspiration and knowledge that helps to enhance or cultivate your own.

Mrs. D’Ericc0 and I - Mary Snow School (circa 1982)

Thank you, Mrs. D’Ericco, for giving me my first platform as a professional cook. You have always been my favorite schoolteacher. And being the only child that I am, I am confident that throughout all your years of teaching, I remain your favorite first grader :)

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