Like most people, I can trace my interest in good food directly back to my mother's homecooking (her staggeringly diverse repertoire runs from homey soups to juicy leg of lamb studded w/garlic & rosemary to perfect pollo Francese & potroasts to classic paella & scratch-made breads, tortillas, cakes--you name it!). Even though she's in her 70s now & her fingers are becoming gnarled with arthritis, the lady is still an indefatigable force of nature and can still crank out a great full Thanksgiving dinner that'd be at home on the cover of an old "Saturday Evening Post."

BTW the last photo here is notof my plate, as any picture of that overburdened receptacle would've been obscured by a laughably spilling-over hoggy troughload of vittles.