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In the more than twenty-five years that I have been married, I have cooked nearly 10,000 dinners. Eating out is something done infrequently in our household. We do not eat “fast food,” and there are few restaurants that satisfy our family requirements for speedy service, quality food, and reasonable prices, hence the 10,000 dinners.

This book is intended to be a survival book of sorts. It is a combination of what I would hope to be “helpful ideas’” recipes, tips, and anecdotes for those men and women who feel somewhat committed to their kitchens, daily and nightly. Most of the recipes (other than cake and cookies) allow for substitution of ingredients or a variation in ingredients, depending on your individual likes and dislikes.

While those who know me know that I am interested in good nutrition, I would call myself a moderate on the nutrition continuum. I use fresh fruits and vegetables in all my cooking, but you will find both processed white and brown sugar on my shelves. YOU WILL ALWAYS FIND CHOCOLATE CHIPS in my refrigerator. I’m not sure whether it’s a positive or a negative, but my children don’t really share this food passion with me! My kids have been taught that cookies and cakes are to be enjoyed. For the most part, you make them and do so from scratch. This is a great built-in diet control for the whole family.

The recipes that follow are often not specifically quantified in terms of amounts. This is done somewhat purposely to allow for creativity on the part of the chef. It is also done because this chef often “reinvents the wheel” each time she cooks and does so more intuitively than exactingly. Intuitive cooking works really well in all areas except for baking, where exact measures are essential. For all recipes of baked goods, the user is provided with specific amounts.

You will also notice that most of these recipes do not have any salt in them. Having grown up in a home without salt, it usually never occurs to me to add salt in my cooking. In a few instances, however, salt may enhance a flavor. I always add salt to my salads (vegetables) and to Kasha (buckwheat groats) as well as to soup. Some nutritional research has linked high sodium diets with high blood pressure. You may use your own discretion when adding salt to these recipes.

Mealtimes in the American culture have always been a time to share one’s news about one’s personal world, the familial world, and the world at large. Today, in most households, mealtimes are often rushed and unshared. Preparing, cooking, and cleaning up can provide your family with a way to come together in this hectic, fast-paced world. The recipes that follow are intended to be simple and tasty.

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