When I read Ann’s bio about sitting on the stool in her grandmother’s kitchen, I’m so reminded of my own mother. She speaks about her grandmother’s practicality with living and cooking, the same as my Mom, I can identify with folding and re-using foil, wrapping in wax paper, not throwing out anything, including the rinds of watermelon–those were to be pickled! As Ann says, there is much we can learn from the ‘Great Generation’~~and now in today’s world we need to heed their green ideas, their concepts of re-cycling, and their outlook on frugality. Ann knew her grandmother’s kitchen as ‘The Fountain Avenue Kitchen’, and her blog and cooking is a tribute to her dear grandmother. Being able to sit down and talk to Ann, whom I’ve known for quite a while on Facebook as a treasured foodie friend, is like getting a special Christmas present~~pull up a stool and eavesdrop as we chat~~
Ann, what are some of the things on your bucket list and why?
Whenever I hear the term “bucket list”, I think I should have one, and I don’t! While there are so many places I would love to go and things that I would enjoy doing, I am at a stage in my life where, as much as I am usually exhausted at the end of each busy day, I truly enjoy every day for what it is. I think it is partially because my kids are at such great ages—10 and 14—and I know how fleeting these years are. Someday, I am sure I will have an extensive bucket list, but for now I tend to be focused on the day at hand.
OK, I know there’s more to you than cooking…what’s a juicy tidbit about you as a person, you now, your past?
A few interesting tidbits about my past include working on an ambulance, completing an Olympic-distance triathlon and a marathon, and living for a time in Madrid. Also, I married someone who I first met at a day camp at age 4, although we didn’t date until after college!
What defines you, Ann, as a person other than a kitchen/cooking and family?
My parents always set the example of doing meaningful community service and that has been an important part of my life since high school. As an adult, I have volunteered for our local Boys & Girls Club for the better part of 20 years and have been very involved with Girls on the Run. One of my favorite roles has been serving as a running buddy to young girls who are trying to complete their first 5K.
So much of your cooking came from your grandmother’s kitchen, how would you describe your style of cooking?
My style of cooking comes from a place of wanting to care for those around me and to eat well. It is generally healthy and uncomplicated and relies on fresh ingredients, basic techniques, and interesting flavor and texture combinations. When baking muffins and breads, I like to develop recipes that are whole grain and healthy whenever possible. I also experiment with gluten free recipes and enjoy variety and trying new things. I do have a sweet tooth and live by the “everything in moderation” mantra. My ultimate weakness is ice cream…and dark chocolate peanut M&Ms.
When cooking for yourself, which is probably rare, what sort of food would you typically prepare?
When cooking for myself, I like nothing better than a big, hearty dinner salad that incorporates lots of greens, a protein like salmon or chicken, nuts, cheese, and an assortment of fruits and veggies. I make lots of different salad dressings that can truly make a simple homemade salad taste as good (or better!) than what we enjoy in a restaurant.
You feed a lot of folks! Which dishes are your family/friends’ favorites and why do you think they enjoy them so much?
It is hard to choose one favorite, but I think many of my friends and family would say the peanut butter and coconut eggs that I make
every Easter. For years, I have made hundreds of these candies to give to an ever-growing list of people. Each year, I contemplate not doing it because it is quite an undertaking. Ultimately, it is a labor of love that my grandmother began many years ago. In a small way, I feel as though I am honoring her memory by continuing this tradition. And they are really tasty!!
OK, now to the really good stuff, Ann! What have you featured for us from your adventurous Fountain Avenue Kitchen?
Parmesan Crusted Salmon