• Gary Corcoran

How one pizza and a sink of dirty dishes started my lifelong love of cooking

Updated: Dec 5, 2020

I come from a big family, with 10 brothers and sisters. My mother cooked most of the meals unless one of my older sisters was around, when they'd occasionally cook. Supper, as we always called it, revolved around 7 or 8 different meals. By the time I was 12 or 13 years old, I was starting to get tired of eating the same old stuff from week to week. So one evening, I said to my mother, why don’t we have pizza for supper one night? She looked at me and said "if you want pizza for supper, then you make it." She gave me a pizza kit in a box and I made our first pizza. The box said to add things you liked, so I remember piling on chunks of bologna. It was a hit and that started a lifetime of cooking. My first real stint at cooking took place at university. I shared an apartment with three roommates and we took turns cooking and cleaning. Whoever cooked didn’t have to clean up the dishes. Well, the thing I hated most was washing dishes--especially after we had a can of beans for supper. I had enough. So I made a deal with my roommates that I would cook supper every night as long as they cleaned the dishes. I bought a couple of cookbooks and started making French dishes first, then curries, stews and so much more. And so my love of cooking began.

My new cookbook, to be published soon, contains almost 160 recipes that I've created, served and enjoyed over the years. You'll find mouth-watering appetizers including my world famous Peppercorn Brandy Pâté, as well as hearty soups and stews, meats and pastas, plenty of fish and seafood (of course! No cookbook by a Newfoundlander would be complete without food from the sea!) and if you're on the hook to cook for large crowd, there are plenty of tried and true "recipes for a crew" too. Don't worry: if you have a sweet tooth, I haven't forgotten the desserts, and yes, you will find the recipe for my famous Soldiers Christmas pudding and Rum sauce, as well as my chocolate terrine.

Over the years, I've learned that a recipe is nothing more than how one person prefers a dish. You can easily replace one or more ingredients and yes your dish may taste different than mine, but so what? Who knows, maybe your dish will taste better. Most of my recipes suggest places where you can swap out ingredients. Feel free to adjust any of my recipes. Add or take away any of the ingredients to make it your own.

I'll include recipes, tips and photographs on this blog in the next few months and especially look forward to sharing holiday recipes with you.

There's always a lot going on in my kitchen at Christmas time.

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