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In spite of my work as an asset manager I still manage to cook my heart out on weekends for my friends and family. Nothing makes me happier than that small silence between the first bite and the "Ohhhhh" from my guests -- they liked it! I've been collecting cookbooks and recipes for over 25 years -- rarely really USE them but love the inspiration they provide. My favorite cookbook is Julia Child's original Mastering the Art of French Cooking. I used that book to teach myself how to cook when I was in college. My tastes have changed over the years -- right now my passion is Mediterranean food - my trips to Israel changed my palate forever! Just bring me some eggplant salad, cucumbers, hummus, Harissa, homemade pita and some grilled fish! Pet peeves are boring pasta dishes (lots of pasta and no flavor) and salads drowning in bland/sweet bottled dressing. YUK!