1. Cooking is always better with music on. Mashed potatoes get a spruce-up from dancing to Diana Ross. Anything can become magical with some melody. Even meatloaf.
2. If you say it’s a family recipe, you can guilt people into eating it.
3. Don’t you dare ever change the apple pie recipe.
4. The dinner table is as sacred as an altar. It is the place where we all come together. The mandated glass of milk is like communion wine where confession is just a story about everybody’s day.
5. Sometimes all you want for dinner is a Dairy Queen soft serve chocolate cone dipped in a hard chocolate shell. And that’s okay.
6. Measuring spoons are for wimps. Learn to eyeball it.
7. In our kitchen, we are every heritage. We are southern white corn shrimp and grits. We are traditional Italian lasagna and homemade sugo. We are hoppin’ john for breakfast on January 1, American apple pie, Irish beef stew and French coq au vin. Your stomach is an international zone. No borders. No discrimination.
8. Honey never goes bad, and you can microwave a sponge to disinfect it.
9. Never put silverware in the microwave.
10. Slaving all day over a hot stove is never a waste. That smile from someone biting into your homemade mac and cheese or Bolognese sauce or a damn good hamburger is the best reward you will ever get. Better than any trophy, medal, or award certificate is a smile and a thank you—and a request for the recipe.