Sunday, August 9, 2009

For Jan

Shortly after Eric and I met, he took me to San Diego to meet his father and step mom, Jan. The night we arrived, Jan cooked us a fabulous meal of salmon. Ever since, her delicious food and love for cooking have inspired me. Without Jan, I probably wouldn't cook today.

I had always loved food and in particular, eating. A love of food (and a crazy restaurant- but that's a whole, other story) was one of the main things that drew Eric and I together. But I had never actually tried to cook... that sort of thing seemed better left to professionals. So I married a chef.

Eric and I moved to San Diego to be nearer to his father and Jan. We spent a year there and it was really a blessing in so many ways. Jan became like a mom to us and she took wonderful care of Eric's father, Dan. Jan made so many delicious meals for us- including the dinner at our wedding. She hosted our wedding in her back yard. Not only did she cook, she arranged for the minister that married us, directed us on where to get the marriage license, and recommended the place where we bought our rings. And did I mention that she did all of this during our one week engagement? Yep, one week! When you know, you know.

Jan made cooking look so easy and enjoyable that I was snowed into thinking that I, too, could do it. And about 8 years later, I could. It just took a little practice. Now, 11 years later, it almost seems easy. Almost, but not quite. LCB taught me that it may not be rocket science but it isn't exactly child's play either.

Jan's biscotti recipe is one of the first things that I ever baked. I've continued to make the recipe over the years and now mine are almost as good as hers. I've made them at holiday time to give as gifts and those biscotti have many fans! She still passes on wonderful recipes and I've never been disappointed in her recommendations. Jan also introduced me to Karen Krasne's Extraordinary Desserts. When I stepped into Extraordinary Desserts for the first time, I (vividly) remember thinking, "This isn't pastry, it's Art!" If you've ever seen Karen Krasne's desserts, you'll understand why I capitalized the "a" in art. Her work is breathtaking.

We're all shaped by our experiences and the things we are exposed to. I just can't imagine what my life would be like without having met Jan. I'd probably still love eating but I doubt I'd have learned to love cooking and baking. I owe Jan immeasurably for opening my eyes. Thank you Jan!


  1. I too became fascinated with both Jan and cooking because not only did everything she make taste delicious, she made it look FUN!!!

    Having been thrown out of the family cucina years before (I have no one to blame but myself having burned out 2 electric mixers, melting down several Revereware pots and amazing the appliance repairman with my ability to crash and burn various stove cooktops) I eventually decided that eating at home would never be a real possibility, let alone something to look forward to.

    Then I met Jan. My wonderful, in - you- face kindred spirit who convinced me I could do ANYTHING, and then set about showing me how.

    Pretty soon I was having very successful dinner parties----Beef Wellington? --no problem. Cheese Souffle? --but ofcourse!! Chocolate Biscotti and Lemon Bars to DIE for???--COMING RIGHT UP!!! I began hoping all guests would have the decency to leave some leftovers and knew I was in trouble when I began keeping stuff back to enjoy myself after they had gone!

    As I write this my daughter Jessie's favorite dish is marinating in the fridge: Jan's Baked Chicken Breast Supreme

    I truly wish everyone had a friend like Jan, and I am so glad you appreciate her wonderfulness, Shelly! She is one of the chief blessings of my life and I treasure every second I get to spend with her!

    Now, if I could just get the hang of her AMAZING sewing abilities......

  2. I'm emailing Jan for the Baked Chicken Breast Supreme recipe as soon as I finish typing this!