...since those early 1970's summer afternoons spent slaving away in the kitchen over a hot light bulb in my sister's Easy Bake Oven (who also, apparently, posed for the cover photo - right after my Mom did her trademark number on her bangs!). Sadly, I'm pretty sure this was my first foray into the kitchen - but thankfully, my mom, whether she actually saw the potential or just needed another set of hands, no matter how small, let me dive head first into cooking and baking at an early age. Baptism by cookies was the same for everyone in our home, you have to do your fairshare of frosting some of the hundreds of (1955) Betty Crocker's Merry Christmas Cookies - the 'light dough' of course .... and boy was I pleasantly surprised when some 20 years later I went against nature and made the dark dough - still the best gingerbread I've ever had! To this day I don't think I've made anything other than cookies out of that cookbook, but really isn't that all we need? Thanks to Betty, but mostly to Mom for leading me along in the kitchen - and allowing me to bake with something other than a light bulb!