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never 2 old to start cooking
a shared journey and learning experience

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ABOUT LAMAR

In 2013, at the age of 71, I found myself living alone for the first time since 1967.  That necessitated some lifestyle adjustments.  First, the need for sustenance other than fast food, pre-prepared meals and/or dining out, and second, the need to stay mentally and physically active while not working full time.  One of the recommended activities for maintaining mental acuity as you age is learning a new language.  While taking up Spanish would undoubtedly fill the bill for mental activity, going headstrong into cooking, food, and food preparation, and the language of same, not only provided an avenue for mental and physical activity, but also solved the problem of "what's for dinner" rather than "where for dinner".  Being able to walk to the grocery store for exercise is a bonus.

I don't like to eat alone, and my situation has allowed me to resurrect what I feel is one of life's great pleasures - the gathering of friends for food and conversation.  I truly enjoy having friends for brunch, lunch, dinner, or dessert.  The conversation is engaging and good for the mind, and it gives me the opportunity to explore and be creative in what I cook, serving it to an audience that I trust to give me honest feedback.

I've always liked to cook; the idea of cooking has never been intimidating.  Furthermore, I've always been adventurous, so the idea of cooking and experimenting was most appealing.  One of my mother's long misplaced cookbooks featured recipes of some of the "world's famous chefs", some of which only listed ingredients (no quantities) and the recommended process.  That book was great reading, and wanting to cook fantastic dishes with no guidance as to amounts was always intriguing (a style of cooking some refer to as "dump cooking").  I still can't do that, but I am becomming more and more comfortable preparing favorite dishes without the recipe in front of me; I've even gotten to the point of trying to recreate dishes I've enjoyed while traveling or otherwise eating out with no recipe at all. 


Opportunities for adventure are where you find them.  Not too long after I started down this road I invited some friends for brunch.  I had in mind a fairly simple menu of quiche muffins, a favorite coffee cake, fruit, bacon, sausage, juice, and coffee.  Two days before our brunch I got a text from one of my guests telling me that he and his wife are vegan, and asking if that was a problem.  Quiche muffins are mostly egg - they were out; my favorite coffee cake has eggs and butter in abundance - it was out; bacon and sausage - out by definition.  Coffee and juice were safe, but Bloody Marys were out - the Worchestershire Sauce in the Bloody Mary mix has anchovy in it. Determined not to be thrown by this revelation, I told my friend that it was not a problem, but a challenge.  Rising to the challenge is one of the real joys of cooking; it's also a huge contributor to your mental health.  Over time I'll be sharing some vegan options that came from that experience.  The same for those with a gluten intolerance.  And by the way, brunch was a success - my vegan guests were more than happy to take home what we did not eat that day.

The spate of cooking shows, which I find more useful as a resource for technique and inspiration than for recipes, helped my development, and I recommend them for occasional viewing; they also use any number of ingredients that they seem to know well, and that I've never heard of.  Look it up!.  A part time job at Sur la Table keeps me up to date on helpful tools, gadgets, and other "needs".

Let's take this walk together.  Feel free to share comments, likes, dislikes, successes, failures - whatever.  Most importantly, ENJOY!!!
  1. Apricot, honey and almond coffee cake
    Apricot, honey and almond coffee cake
  2. Black forest cheesecake
    Black forest cheesecake
  3. Poblano peppers
    Poblano peppers
  4. Avocado and tomato salad
    Avocado and tomato salad
  5. Cranberry orange bread
    Cranberry orange bread
  6. Ham, chili,cheese puff pastry with egg and hollandaise
    Ham, chili,cheese puff pastry with egg and hollandaise