My family and friends tell me I am a good cook. My kids are too young to know any differently, but my friends are pretty experienced with eating. And for years and years they’ve been coming to our house, serving themselves what I cooked, then taking seconds and cleaning their plates. I believe them when they say they like my food.

However, I am not a professional chef. I don’t know all the chemistry about which powders cause which foods to sizzle or go poof. And I was clueless on how most cooking oils are bad for you until I started researching about healthier ingredients. But I can follow a recipe, meld recipes, adapt recipes and I can throw foods together and make them taste good. Which is the strength of this collection. It is a compilation of recipes that a normal homecook can, and does, make for her family.

Every recipe in here was made on my stove or in my oven, often with the help of my kids. At first I used a 1930’s gas stove, which wasn’t particularly hot. Then we moved to an all electric house and I used a coil electric stove until we replaced it with a glass stovetop we bought used off Craigslist. And every recipe here has been eaten by my kids, my husband, and myself. I’ve only included the ones we like. If a recipe got fed to our dogs or chickens it is not in here. I’m not saying everyone in my family likes each dish. Let’s be realistic. I have children and one of them is very, very picky. But these are the foods I cook and serve to my family and my friends.

Additionally, every recipe here was made with cast iron cooking in mind. There are some that I don’t make in cast iron. I could, but I tend to boil foods in my old stainless steel pot. I do (or will) include them here because they are either central to several other recipes or I simply want to share them. And every recipe in here can be made in something other than cast iron. I find cast iron is easier to work with because it is non-stick and because many of the foods just taste better cooked in cast iron. So even though I’ll give instructions using cast iron, if you don’t have any cast iron or don’t have one the right size, you can adapt these recipes for use in other cookware.

I’ve also made sure almost every ingredient in here is a normal food that you can get at chain grocery stores like Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Costco. I do buy almond flour online because it is cheaper than what I can get local. And I buy lots of stuff from amazon.com because it’s cheaper than I can get locally.

 

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