Welcome to Naomi Kooker's blog.

At age 6 my mother let me into the kitchen, alone. By seventh grade I was feigning sick to stay home from school, "miraculously" feeling good enough to make baked-stuffed pork chops for dinner. My passion for cooking led me to a job as a sous chef in a Manhattan restaurant and, later, to stand quietly in the corner of (and eventually do one thing in) Restaurant Guy Savoy's kitchen in Paris. I overcame the ultimate cooking challenge when I made butter cream icing over a Bunsen burner at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. It was for a friend's wedding cake, the centerpiece at the reception the next day. It was midnight. With just hours to go, I managed to whip up the icing, then carefully place the last few candied violets onto the cake before the reception. Oh, how grateful I was for that Bunsen burner and the corner bodega that was open 24 hours.

It all worked out in the end. It always does.

Food, cooking and eating are inextricably linked to life. Life is better when good food is involved, and even better when good company is part of the eating.

Thank you for stopping in and being part of a growing dinner party of readers.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Homemade Cranberry Sauce Makes Thanksgiving A Grateful Endeavor

Kellerman Cranberry Sauce       Photo by Naomi Kooker

“You make your own cranberry sauce?” says the lady at the checkout counter, eyeing the fresh cranberries. Yes, I’m last minute shopping the day before Thanksgiving. Her tone of voice is incredulous as though I told her I tan my own hides.

“It’s a family tradition,” I tell her. “My turn this year.”

Normally, it’s Mom. Mom makes it every year. That and the banana bread she swears she doesn’t have a recipe for, says she makes it differently every year, yet it always tastes the same: like Mom’s awesome banana bread.