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My name is Leonora. I retired from the State of Hawaii as an Occupational Therapist. I graduated from the University of Kansas in 1967 and worked over 50 years as a therapist in California, South Carolina and Hawaii. I worked in sheltered workshops, mental health centers, hospitals and schools with the physically and mentally disabled children and adults. My last 24 years before retiring, I was an O.T. at Ho'opono, a rehabilitation center for the blind and visually impaired in Hawaii. Every job I had, I taught cooking classes, in addition to my other duties. It was very challenging working with the handicapped, especially the blind. With hands on and patient explanation of how to do something, clients were able to cook meals successfully using special techniques and simple equipment. After retiring, I had 4 part time jobs before deciding to move to Las Vegas with my son and his family.
I am known as the Pickle Lady in Hawaii because I wrote 3 books on pickles. My latest pickling book (3rd edition) is in circulation in all the libraries on Oahu, so check it out if you're ever there.
Hawaiians love their simple pickles that don't need canning and eat them in some form or another almost every day. Outside the islands, pickling is not so popular so I felt more pickle books wouldn't do well on the mainland. Also, book publishing is very costly. And with the digital age, young people don' t want to read books but will search the internet for hours. And there is no costly overhead or bulky storage problems.
I have been featured on television, radio, and in magazines and newspapers. I have given hundreds of demonstrations on Oahu, Hollister, California , and Las Vegas. I've been to churches, schools, Lions clubs, senior citizen groups, stores, almost all the Oahu libraries, YMCA's, botanical parks, conferences, indoor and outdoor events large and small. Many groups have invited me back many times to talk on various subjects like ethnic dishes, kid friendly foods, fermentation and holiday treats, I love to cook and would rather make 3 or 4 things rather than 1 because I multi task easily. I can spend hours in the kitchen testing out and researching new ideas.
My repertoire ranges from very simple to complex recipes and covers a wide range of categories and multinational dishes. Whenever I travel I try to take some cooking classes and write down everything I ate so that I can write the formulas and make it when I get home.
Growing up, we ate mostly Chinese food and never went to restaurants except for special occasions. My mom was an unbelievable cook who never had any training but she prepared every conceivable Cantonese dish possible. I was urged to learn from her but refused to learn until I went to school at K.U. and missed the delicious food she made. It was only when I returned home that I was serious about cooking and wrote down everything I could since there was nothing in writing. Little by little, my confidence grew and I learned from my mom and other family members and friends. Fast forward 50+ years later, I have a good command of Cantonese and International foods. Although I don't speak the language to talk to some Chinatown vendors, I remember many of the ingredients, spices and herbs my mother would tell me in Chinese. Therefore, I can easily shop by sight for the items I need. Most shop keepers today speak English and are usually helpful in locating what I need. I am not limited to only Chinese food, but am familiar with many international dishes and experiment with foods from many other cultures.
I am so happy that the Lord blessed me with this talent so that I can share how to cook international and Chinese food one dish at a time.
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