Cynthia Briggs celebrates her love of cooking and writing through her cookbooks, “Pork Chops & Applesauce” and “Sweet Apple Temptations.” She has authored two e-books titled, “The Adventures of Lily and Leon: A Soppy Fish Tale” and “Bumper Crop: Beginning with Apples.” Cynthia wrote a nostalgic cooking column for seven years, she’s published in seven “Chicken Soup for the Soul” books, “Woman’s World Magazine” and numerous on-line publications. She enjoys speaking to women’s groups, critiquing cookbooks, and coaching budding authors.

Cynthia makes her home in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Ed, and their favorite dachshund, Leon.
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Confessions of a Country Chef

If you talked to my kids they’d tell you their childhood was riddled with cooking mishaps. They claim we had zucchini for dinner every night, and in their opinion, any meal that included zucchini was a blatant error by the chef. Aside from my zucchini phase of cooking flops, I will confess (for the sake of this article) to my share of cooking faux pas.

My first big goof was in my early teens when I made Spanish rice. The recipe called for 1 1/2 cups cooked rice and I put in 1 1/2 cups uncooked rice. Needless to say, with the additions of so much water and tomato sauce, we ate Spanish rice every night for a week. The family never let me forget the blunder. I learned to read directions more carefully.

Not too many years later, I watched a cook in a small restaurant douse an enormous prime rib with a thick crust of salt and roast it for 3-hours. When the opportunity arose for me to make my first roast, I poured a very thick crust of salt over a 2-pound beef roast and put it in the oven for 3-hours. It came out of the oven a salty, inedible cinder. I learned to under salt rather than over salt.

Another time, I was living far away from my family when I made my first Thanksgiving dinner. I purchased an 8-pound turkey and baked it for 8-hours, “like Mom always does.” I was depending on the new-fangled cooking indicator to pop-up when the turkey was done. The doneness indicator failed, dry turkey jerky was the result. I put a good ‘cookbook with a meat cooking chart’ on my Christmas list.

Then when I was old enough to know better, I made probably my biggest culinary mistake. My husband and I had just gotten married. Beef stroganoff was one of my hubby’s favorite meals, so one night I served picture-perfect beef stroganoff over a bed of egg noodles.

We both filled our plates and before taking a bite I left the table to fill our water glasses.

When I returned, Ed was slowly eating the stroganoff and looking red-faced. “What’s wrong, Honey?” I asked him.

“The stroganoff tastes different than any I’ve ever tasted.” He replied reaching for his water glass.

I took a bite and, to my horror, I’d used cayenne pepper in the stroganoff instead of paprika. I learned to read labels more carefully.

This last 4th of July I tried making homemade baked beans by using black beans instead of white. Experience told me to make the beans ahead of time in case they didn’t turn out; experience knew what she was talking about. I calmly told myself, “nothing ventured, nothing gained” and made something different.

Over the years I’ve bungled my share of appetizers, entrees, desserts, side dishes and snacks. I’ve added too much mustard to the deviled eggs, roasted the turkey with the giblet packet still inside its cavity, and once I forgot to put baking powder in the baking powder biscuits.

My kids and their dad were the recipients of many culinary experiments in the early days, but I think they’ll agree that the successes far out-weigh the failures. Most of my cooking and baking skills have been learned through trial and error, yet culinary misses can make the difference between a mediocre cook and an excellent cook.

Thankfully, I’ve learned from my kitchen missteps. These days I can honestly say I haven’t charred meat or fowl, haven’t overused the salt shaker or used cayenne pepper instead of paprika…but then…the day isn’t over yet.


Cynthia Briggs message in Pork Chops & Applesauce is about focusing on what’s important in life; and how taking a break to reflect upon memorable family gatherings and the sharing of dinners provides a respite from the fast pace of living in today’s hectic world. Cynthia says, Your Roasted Garlic Potatoes are in the oven baking along with your Surprise Parmesan Meatloaf. The Pear Pie with Crunchy Pecan Crust is cooling on the counter. The dishes are done, the cut flowers are in a vase on the dining room table, and the whole house smells like paradise! Now, before your guests arrive, it s time relax and read one or two of the nostalgic and often humorous stories that introduce many of the recipes in Pork Chops & Applesauce. Enjoy!


Publisher: AuthorHouse; 2nd edition
Publication Date: July 14, 2004
Number of Pages: 193 pages
ISBN-10: 1403381658
ISBN-13: 978-1403381651





I received a copy of this book, at no charge to me, in exchange for my honest review. No items that I receive are ever sold…they are kept by me, or given to family and/or friends.
I do not have any affiliation with or Barnes & Noble. I am an IndieBound affiliate. I am providing link(s) solely for visitors that may be interested in purchasing this Book/EBook.


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