Perhaps my name is familiar to you (or perhaps not!). If you live in the Sacramento area, maybe you took some of my cooking classes at the late-lamented William Glen cookware store or at one of several other venues. Maybe you enjoyed home-style desserts from Sweet Dreams, the neighborhood bakery where I was a partner in the ‘80s. Perhaps you saw me demonstrate Jewish holiday recipes on the TV noon news or make bread at the California State Fair. Maybe you had some of the desserts I prepared at the Sacramento Club, where I was pastry chef in the restaurant. Perhaps you read my articles about Jewish cooking in the Sacramento Bee or the Union, or more recently in the Scroll, our synagogue’s monthly bulletin, and The Voice, published by the Jewish Federation of the Sacramento Region.
I have loved to cook since, as a new bride in Boston, I watched Julia Child in her very first TV broadcasts of The French Chef. Until then, I had a limited repertoire which included a few of my mother’s specialties like 1-2-3-4 cake and brisket. My husband, Larry, and I lived on a limited budget and I couldn’t afford to buy MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH COOKING, so I would sit in front of our little TV and write down everything Julia said.
In 1965, after my husband’s service in the Army at Ft. Riley, Kansas, we arrived in Sacramento with our two little children. A visit to the State Fair prompted Larry to encourage me to enter my own baked goods the following year. I was delighted to bring home several ribbons, from honorable mention to blue.
Once we had settled in Suburban Sacramento, I began taking cooking classes given locally by visiting celebrity chefs and accomplished local residents. I was flabbergasted when I was asked to teach a 2-week children’s “cooking camp” at William Glen and then to take over the bread-making classes when the former teacher got tired of schlepping from Palo Alto on a weekly basis.
Teaching and writing became my primary ways of sharing my passion for preparing good food. Travel across the United States and to France and elsewhere in Europe has presented me with many opportunities to consume a wide spectrum of delicious food over the years. In the ‘90s I took professional pastry classes in Paris at the Ritz Hotel and lessons for home cooks at a Lênotre bakery. For several years our annual month-long stays in Paris included classes in French home cooking in the atelier of teacher Françoise Meunier. She and her husband, Dominique, have become our dear friends and they have seen to it that we miss nothing that Paris has to offer!
Membership in the International Association of Culinary Professionals and the Bay Area Bakers Dozen have allowed me to meet many people who have the same passion and who are willing to share their knowledge and expertise. I was one of many authors who contributed to THE BAKER’S DOZEN COOKBOOK published in 2001.
Many times I have been asked, “Why don’t you write a cookbook?” The answer is that I am not sure that all the work entailed would result in the same satisfaction that I get from publishing articles and from face-to-face interaction in a teaching situation. Now that food blogging has become so wide-spread, it seems to be the perfect way to share my interest in all things culinary and allow me to be available for an Internet conversation or comment or suggestion. Because a blog is an ongoing project, I will also be able to share our travel adventures as they happen and to post both kitchen and travel tips as they are discovered.
Two women have been especially instrumental in my arrival at this place in my culinary career. Cookbook author, teacher and dear friend for over 30 years, Flo Braker and my friend and neighbor prize-winning blogger Elise Bauer. And none of this would ever have come about without the love, support and abundant encouragement of Larry Lieb, my treasured husband of 54 years!