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The best thing about learning to cook is asking others to try your dishes!

About six months ago, a girl friend, a recognized chef herself, teased me that I would be a terrible mother because I couldn’t cook a thing! I was shocked but I have to admit, she was right.

When I moved to an apartment-style university dorm with a kitchen, I went crazy buying pots, pans, and baking trays! I started experimenting with fish, vegetables, and pastry. I baked, sautéed, and caramelized every night!

My favorite part of cooking is when my roommate and friends tasted my dishes! The initial skepticism towards my “experiments,” the moment of surprise that followed, and the final sigh of delight, gave me pleasure and pride!

I started cooking out of anxiety for my future as a mother and my nostalgia for typical Bulgarian dishes, and now I can’t stop combining exotic American foods with old-favorite Bulgarian recipes.

Since I’ve been home, I’ve made Massachusetts-style baked fish with vegetables and mint, blueberry and my-grandma’s-garden-raspberry muffins from Plymouth, innovative green salad with avocado like the ones I get from Haymarket, caramelized shrimp and onion like on Newbury, teriyaki-pineapple chicken a la Pensacola, and so on.

Funny fact, my dog refused to eat the teriyaki chicken.

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