I am not a professional chef or photographer and this site is for real cooks.  Every picture was taken by me of food that I (sadly no sous-chef, photographer, web designer or handy assistants for me) prepared in a real home kitchen and is promptly eaten after the photos.  This is for home cooks who have busy lives and aren’t perfect. Since I definitely fit in that group, I plan on making it real. No pictures of uncooked turkey that looks great, through the magic of liquid smoke and a torch, no mashed potato ice cream and no stock photography. If you see it here, I made it and believe me, I’m always learning. I am pretty well-known for my tasty cooking, however I’m no Martha Stewart when it comes to presentation (who has time for it) so I’m going to work on that . . .

People used to learn to cook by watching relatives and helping out in the kitchen. They got recipes handed down through generations from friends and family. Now with so many families living far from each other, with such busy lives and unlimited choices of restaurant and prepared foods, many find themselves well into adulthood with no clue how to make the most basic meals.

TV revolutionized the way a home cook could learn gourmet techniques and most credit Julia Childs as the first TV Chef. Now there are dozens, each with their own shows and cookbooks. Added to that is the Internet with its unlimited recipes, advice and videos. Yet, sifting through it all can be daunting. Google alone has 19,500,000 hits for “chicken recipe”. Who has time to sort through all that?

I have to admit to being a TV watcher.   I know “they” say it kills brain cells and makes you fat but I guess I’ll just have to live with that.  It’s entertaining and informative – obviously depending on what you watch.  Each week I’m going to pick my favorite cooking show and then try a recipe from the weeks programs.   In my experience sometimes the recipes are wonderful and turn out perfectly and other times they look great on the show but don’t come out the same at home.

Although not a real chef, what I lack in formal training I make up for in enthusiasm and lots of trial and error. I was once told that “I only have a kitchen because it came with the house.” After picking myself up off the floor, (in her defense, she is a real live Beauty Queen) my only thought was that when I was looking for a house, the kitchen was the most important part of my decision.

My love of baking has no bounds. Nothing relieves stress like a little beating and kneading and the smell of freshly baked goods. While I was working for a restaurant chain and one of the locations was being closed, I asked about getting the large mixer which I thought would be perfect for me. Immediately my coworker started laughing and said “I could bathe in that thing!” I ended up being dissuaded only by the logistics of getting the 1200 lb machine moved and having to rewire my kitchen (basically everyone said I was nuts). If it weren’t for that, I would have been the proud owner of a giant mixer that I’m sure I would have loved. By the way, I also really, really wanted the 2000 lb double pizza oven . . .

I can be reached at salernos@simplycooking101.com