My background and experiences are very unique. Too much for this venue! With respect to cooking, I have partaken of cuisine in many parts of Europe, and have enjoyed wine since I was a tot! I learned to cook from my mom who was a gourmet and loved to give glamorous dinner parties. She was of German descent and that was reflected in her cooking frequently. The other side of my descent is Scotch/Irish and that also was reflected in my mother's cooking and traditions. It is the Celtic side that I most strongly take after. At gatherings and potlucks, I admit, I am most famous for bringing the green bean casserole, pretty provincial, I admit, but everyone demands it of me, and well, I can't disappoint my public! The cookbook I use the most is good ol' BHG "New" Cookbook, which is very dog eared by now. I've had it since moving out on my own in 1985.