Welcome to the What's Your Food Story contest! Here is story #4 of our five entries. Enjoy!
If you'd like to submit your own food story/recipe, see all the details here: http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2013/08/new-contest-for-september-whats-your.html DEADLINE: CLOSED
Winners and prizes TBA soon!
COOKING FOOD = HAPPINESS
First off, my family is BIG on food. The equation above is one I grew up with, with all kinds of homemade special treats at the holidays and birthdays. I’ve got a lot of stories involving food, from an aunt that would always “forget” to include one ingredient when she passed on favorite recipes to others—so the resulting dish would not surpass her own creations—to my own many mishaps in the kitchen over the years.
You might think I was born to bake, that with a family so into food I would have been cooking when my age was in the single digits. Not so. My learning to cook was a long process that didn’t begin until I was in college.
It was bio lab, and to explain a concept of chemical reaction, we had to bake a loaf of bread ourselves and bring it in. I’d never baked or cooked anything at that point in my life, not counting the plaster ornament mix I had tried to make once that hardened in the bowl as I was mixing and trapped two wooden spoons permanently. So my A average was in trouble, to put it mildly. And since I cared very much about excelling in my classes, I got my mom to help me. The result was I had the best bread in the class. But I felt alittle bad about that, as I’d technically cheated by having her help me. I wanted to really be able to make bread that looked and tasted that good on my own. So little by little, I began baking cookies and breads from mixes, then eventually from scratch.
To be clear, I wasn’t cooking at this point yet (I got ridiculed for years by a friend that loved to remind me about the time I had called him asking him how to cook bacon—“Um, you put it in the pan, Tara, and turn on the stove”). But after excelling at baking—and gaining a husband who loved home cooking—I learned to cook various soups (tomato remains the Hall house favorite), other breads (I make pumpkin bread or apple-raisin bread for a neighbor almost every other week now), entrees (meatloaf and chili-sans-beans are fall favorites), and all kinds of desserts, several of which I’m famous for locally.
You’ll see a lot of cooking in the Promise Me Series I write. Most anything Sar is making is something I’ve done at one time or another. So if you read about anything that sounds mouthwatering in one of my stories, shoot me an email and I’ll send it to you. And I promise I won’t leave any ingredients out!
Recipe for Tara’s Infamous chocolate chip cookies (the same ones that Sar makes in multiple books):
5 and 3/4 cups flour (get this EXACT – the success of the cookies depends on this)
1 and ½ cups granulated white sugar
1 and ½ cups brown sugar
4 sticks of butter (no margarine)
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp baking soda
One large bag choc chips or 2 small bags – you need 24oz
Preheat oven to 375 deg. F Melt butter in saucepan on stove, and pour over sugars and vanilla—do NOT cut in or scorch butter. Beat well. Mix in eggs. Beat well until no lumps. Mix flour, and baking soda, then add to wet mixture. Beat well until no lumps. Then add in choc chips.
*Refrigerate if it’s a very hot day for one hour. You’ll want one tablespoon to be able to make an 1” sticky ball without being goopy when you set it down on the parchment paper lined cookie sheets.
Roll into 1” balls and put in a 3-2-3-etc pattern on cookie sheet, leaving space for cookies to spread. Cook for 10 min at 375 deg. until just golden. Cook another 2-5 minutes if you like your cookies crispy. Remove via spatula onto a wire tray or papertowel-lined counter. Let cool before storing. Can be frozen very well for microwaving when needed in a chocolate emergency!
Modifications: Substituting in all white sugar for the brown sugar will give you a lighter cookie, substituting in a partial cup of honey for white sugar will give the cookies a honey taste, and this can also be done with maple sugar also. Any kind of chip can be used (lemony chocolate is nice), or a mix of chips to make a peanut butter/chocolate or a caramel/chocolate mix. You can also spread these thickly in a 8 x 10 pan to make a kind of bar cookie, if you like. Variations on chip shape and size are fun, just remember to use enough chips!
Tara Fox Hall’s writing credits include nonfiction, horror, suspense, action-adventure, erotica, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. She is the author of the paranormal action-adventure Lash series and the vampire romantic suspense Promise Me series. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.
Tara's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tara-Fox-Hall/151813374904903