My job titles have included Restaurant and Bar Manager, Personal Chef, Health and Education Coordinator for Sevananda Natural Foods, Mad Scientist, and Mrs. Claus. I have been cooking since I was 8. Actually, if you count my Easy Bake Oven, since I was 6! Julia Child was a role model for me at a very young age, when my Dad and I would share rare convivial moments watching her make mistakes on camera and laugh them off, making it all look accessible and easy. . I started studying history as a reenactor about the same time that I became an apprentice chef, learning to put on medieval and renaissance feasts while learning to create sit-down formal banquets for 500 at the hotel where I worked and was the first woman to graduate from the ACF’s Apprenticeship Program in the SE US. I have continued studying food and history, and have worked as a food historian demonstrating Roman, Viking, Medieval, Renaissance, Victorian, Edwardian, and Colonial period foods. My recipes show my interest in cuisines from faraway lands as well as times long past, often from ancient and ethnic roots. I have written self-published books on planning large historical feasts, cooking for children from ancient recipes, and edited a compendium of year-round holiday celebrations. I am the co-author of GlutenSmart's "Easy Gluten-Free Entertaining" cookbook that came out in December of 2013. I believe in the tenant from the Hippocratic Oath: “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” I was put on my first diet at age 5. Luckily I was also introduced to “health food” at an early age and I have worked with and been a member of a couple of great food co-ops for decades. Working in the natural food industry I was able to embrace the concept of ‘baby steps’. After a back injury left me an invalid, an elimination diet helped me to discover that giving up gluten reduced the inflammation at my injury sites and allowed me to regain a large chunk of the life I had been missing. Managing my diet, lifestyle, supplement regimen, and exercise level is an ongoing process and will never be finished or perfect. Add in aging and the ‘perfect combination’ is a moving target. But I continue to study and refine, work with clients with complicated medical and dietary needs, and continue to learn how to let food be our medicine, and medicine be our food. I started appearing as Mrs. Claus 20 years ago, and am delighted to see a second generation of young folks showing up to sit on our laps. Mrs. Claus Cooks seemed like a perfect combination of roles, bringing my food historian, Christmas expert, and chef instructor interests all together in one place.