Susan Gainen: exuberant cook

I  was very lucky in my childhood kitchen. My parents were happy to have an exuberant cook in the house, and they encouraged experiments.  My Mother was impatient with my dishwashing skills, so she often washed the dishes.

A Happy Birthday.  For my 50th birthday, I decided that I needed 50 cakes, and began a cake-a-week baking project that meant more bowls for the Kitchen Aide, more kitchen tools, and many, many more cookbooks. The cakes were all about flavor and technique, and there was just one decorated cake: The Watergate History Cake. Using Nick Malgieri’s technique of making chocolate plastic, I made strips of masking-tape colored chocolate and draped them across the cake.

September 11 and me. Everyone alive on that day had a reaction of sorts, a personal  defensive response. I made jam. Having been inspired by my friend Eileen O’Toole, and everyone’s friend, author Laurie Colwin, to make jam in the first place, I made case after case of jam.  For some years I had at least five cases of jars in the trunk of my car — just in case. There were happy products of what must be described as a gentle obsession:  Friends who happily (gleefully) accepted jar after jar, and Blue Ribbons from the Minnesota State Fair for things like Blueberry-Ginger-Double-Chili Jam, and Barbecue Sauce.

This blog.  While I used to cook all the time, now I paint and write most of the time. I look forward to sharing good recipes here.


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