An interior decorator who lives in Hauppauge, she and her husband, Tom, have two children, Matt, 15, and Alexa, 18.

How did you learn to cook? Cooking is a family affair here. We all cook. I come from a family of five, and my family owned a bakery in Yonkers. Somebody was always in the kitchen, whether it was my mother or my grandmother, making meatballs. I learned a lot from my mother, my grandmother - and my father.

What kind of a cook was your father? He was a baker. We always had fresh-made baked goods. This was long before the cooking shows, and he was an artist. He was amazing with cakes.

How did your husband learn to cook? The same way as I did - watching his mother cook.

What about your own kids? They're like food snobs. They enjoy good cooking - fresh food. I think that's going to be the biggest adjustment for my daughter, going to college, getting used to the food.

What about some of your favorite dishes - what are they? My mother is 76 years old, and she makes the best lasagna any of us has ever eaten. But I also have a sweet tooth. There's not a cookie I don't like. One of my specialties is chocolate-covered pretzels.

What about discovering new foods? I'm always looking for new recipes - once a week or so, I make something new. Usually I use magazines. I love magazines - Food and Wine, Ladies' Home Journal.

Is there one particular ingredient you couldn't live without? I couldn't live my life without chocolate. It's my biggest vice.

Is there a restaurant you really like? I really love Kitchen a Bistro, in St. James.

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