Come on in and have a seat…
Growing up on a farm in the Yellowstone River valley in Montana, I learned deep family values and a work ethic that tends to be traditional to rural communities and large families. While there were many challenges, I wouldn’t have asked for any other upbringing. My grandparents remain to this day, a significant part of my life and thanks to our lifestyle, my sister and I were able to spend an unusually large amount of time with them through the years. It was only on my 45th birthday that I lost my dear (paternal) grandfather and two years later, my maternal grandfather passed at age 89. We are blessed beyond words to continue to share life with my two grandmothers. While my parents worked very hard to provide the most comfortable life for our family, it was our grandparents who included us in their travels, picked us up at school when sick, or offered part time jobs all the way through high school.
My grandmother, Leatha, taught me to appreciate the finer things in life… including how a lady loves to be pretty, finished off with heels and a new dress, how china and crystal make a family meal extra special, and of course, the joy of feeding those you love with amazing meals at a table filled with laughter. My father’s mom, Shirley, demonstrated the daily sacrifice of gardening and cooking for her farmers – her husband, five children, and (I’ve lost count how many) grandchildren. Both women are fabulous cooks and bakers who have spent their lives dedicated to their families, serving countless meals and hosting celebrations fit for a king.
My mother is no slouch in the kitchen either. In fact, she is why and how I learned to cook. She has held many different roles in life, but her foundation is as a home economist, a teacher. She can sew, cook, bake, truly a domestic goddess from the 50’s. My mother and I share the skills of cooking via experimentation, serving new recipes to a crowd of guests, and rarely making the same thing twice. Shelves of cookbooks line our kitchens and formal menus are served on Easter and Christmas. We are creative with vast tastes and rarely shy away from a challenge in the kitchen. The cupboards are full and if necessary, we can shop from our own pantries and serve up a “no recipe” dinner in a pinch.
My husband and I married while in college at Montana State University and spent 25 years on active duty in the Air Force. We were blessed to live in 3 foreign countries and 6 states while raising two children. Travel took on a whole new meaning after living eight years in Europe and Asia. Brett retired as a Colonel after a career as an Air Battle Manager and I am a teacher. I started with elementary kiddos and today, I am a college professor working in K-12 Teacher Education. We are privileged to return to our alma mater where we can give back to the community who launched us on this crazy journey for the last 28 years. It is in my free time that I love to entertain. Over the years, I’ve hosted Bunko groups, book clubs, dinner parties, birthday celebrations galore, holiday dinners and authentic Oktoberfest parties. Most recently, we hosted my husband’s office Christmas party 13 days after we moved into a new house with 52 guests. Three weeks later, following a Christmas dinner for 11, we hosted 30 for our housewarming party. While I do get tired (without a doubt!), I am energized by sharing our home with others. This is why, today, I open my home and my passions to you. Please join us and I hope you enjoy it, feeling the same inspiration for breaking bread and building relationships across the table with those you love.
Blessings to you and your family,
Copyright © 2020 Montana Mountain Maven / Tina R. Cusker. All rights reserved.