"Grammie you are the baking expert. Mom is the expert at cooking."
Jeter had no idea when he uttered this statement, how much it would mean to me. You probably don't either. He is definitely spot on regarding my mom aka 'Grammie'. She has always had a reputation of an excellent baker. Family get-togethers and holidays were incomplete without one of my Mom's pies or a dish of her baked goodies. Chocolate cream pie, banana cream pie, apple pie, pecan pie, brownies, cookies, breads, etc. Everything was made from scratch and that is how we were taught. I never saw a boxed mix in my parents house in the 40+ years of my life and I strongly suspect that it will never happen.
Mom taught us well. For the last 17 years of my marriage, I was always comfortable with baking - cookies, brownies, breads, pies (although I have 'cheated' and used the store-bought pie crusts), tarts, bars, puddings, etc. I even broadened my scope and got into making candies around the holidays - chocolate covered nuts, pretzels, marshmallows, and peanut butter balls and truffles. The boys loved it and enjoyed being my official taste-testers. Our waist lines didn't. But this is where I excelled at in the kitchen.
Cooking? I did it. It was important. People do need to eat. Or they will die. That is why they gave me pots and pans at my bridal shower. We definitely weren't a family that ate fast food or frequented restaurants on a regular basis so I didn't have any other options but to figure out this cooking thing. I tried to find recipes that seemed simple and easy. But my dinners were becoming predictable and boring. Something had to change but I didn't know how to do it...not yet anyway.