My name is Alex and I love to cook at home on a big old but reliable crown stove( probably late 70s). I am almost entirely self-taught. My grandmother always cooked for me as a child. Meatloafs, broiled fish, pot roast, baked apples, chicken soups chicken paprikash made of the leftover chicken from the soup. When I first moved out and lived in my own apartment, if I wasn't at her place eating, I was eating al a'cart anything I could find, I liked ,or get out of the can (salmon tuna fish sardines Olives ) when the thought occurred to me. I could've been somebody's house cat . Sometimes I made something close to her chicken soup.BUT I always loved good food and wouldn't go to fast food restaurants. A very close friend taught me my first dish, when I was 20. It's a spaghetti tomato sauce dish ,with hot Italian and sweet Italian sausage & red wine( his mother learned it probably in the early 1900s ) ,And I've been making that for over 20 years now . It's as New York as it gets. To make a long story short I met another friend who cooked every sort of dish , when we weren't drinking and watching classic movies on television (when I was at his house ) he was cooking. From that friendship I became a home cook. I cook from books old ones like gastronomic. And much older still. I need technique and advice on the fundamentals. I have a lot of experience as an amateur home cook and have cooked many interesting dishes. I hope I can contribute to this forum a little . I like to judge everything by a sense of my own pallet. And love to criticize dishes in restaurants, even sometimes the food. And I am very impressed by what I have seen + read on this site . Thank you Alex p.s. Thanks for the private message, and I love that black cat .