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I love to cook because I grew up in a home where every meal was sadly overcooked and unpleasantly tasteless. Breakfast usually consisted of a bowl of white rice or the old Quaker Oats. What a sucky way to start the day. So as a young teenager I set out to find those tastes that I enjoyed.

Growing up in Salinas, California afforded me front row seats to a lot of my Mexican friends mother’s kitchens. I got to help make everything from the rice to tamales, enchiladas, mole and more. That got me started pretty good.

As an older teen I dated a lot of Filipino girls, the Filipinas. From them and their mothers came my love for Asian cuisine. And with my expanded palate, I became extremely creative. Once I met the woman I married, I did most of the cooking in our home and always enjoyed it.

What do I like cooking most? Depends on my mood, but I can tell you that bell peppers, onions and garlic show up in just about everything I make because you can go any direction with those ingredients. Throw some chicken breast in, add some fajita spices, do up some old neighborhood rice and it’s fiesta time.

Or add some lean beef, snow peas and Stir Fry sauce. Go Asian for the night with some fried rice.

How about making a wonderful chunky marinara sauce and preparing some meatballs and farfalle? Italian sounds good once in a while.

Toss in some lettuce, tomatoes and chopped chicken breast and you have any number of salad beginnings. Or a pepper pot soup or stew.

Damnit! Now I’m hungry. Time to go chop some peppers, onions and garlic. Since it’s almost 7 AM, I think I’ll add in some ham and mushrooms and make an omelette topped with Monterey Jack cheese and some homemade salsa. Mmmmm doggies!!!