Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What I know about the art of cooking ...

What I know about the art of cooking could probably fill my grandma's large mixing bowl. The bowl belongs to my Grandma Boots and it's one of those fabulous bowls from the 1970s that is large enough to thaw a small fowl, whip up a double batch of chocolate chip cookies and hold a potluck-sized pasta salad. It's also a marbled yellow and orange color that has become "modern" once again. (Funny enough - Rachael Ray is now hawking a similar bowl at Kohl's and it runs about $15. Not as cool as my grandma's.)

The description of my grandma's cooking bowl is my long and convoluted way of warning you: If you're looking for truffle oil, you've come to the wrong cooking blog. I'm a lifelong Midwestern cook and nothing in my mom or my grandma's reperoitoire of recipes has ever called for truffle oil.

Or another way of looking at this blog is how I explained it to one of my aunts at a recent family get-together is that Shelley Bakes is a blog containing "simple recipes for lazy people."

I am not going to guarantee that you'll never see truffle oil on this blog, but the chances are pretty slim. Shelley Bakes is about simple recipes that don't involve ingredients that you probably haven't heard of. I really like to cook, but I work two jobs, am planning a wedding and am just an all-around semi-lazy person. Things like ginger root scare me because when I look at something like that, I'm kind of stumped as to what to do with it. Hand me an onion and I'll slice and dice it a dozen ways until Sunday - because I know what to do with an onion.

I come from a very long and proud line of cooks - many of whom have canned their own produce, baked their own bread and a handful of which who lived through the Great Depression. What the cooks in my family have taught me is that good food doesn't have to be fancy - at the end of the day, cooking someone's favorite soup or making banana bread is a simple expression of love. As seduced as I have been in the past by wonderful magazines like Cooking Light or Bon Appetit, the recipes I turn to are the tried and true recipes that have been passed down in my family or come from familiar names in my collection of local church cookbooks.

Come back and visit often ... If you have any recipes you think I'd like to try or want to send me a comment, please write me at I look forward to hearing from you.

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