Today I want you to meet the Miko Family! When I first began talking with Helen Miko about cooking and her recipes, I had no idea that she would share so many delicious family treasures and heirlooms. I am surprised that Helen has any time at all to cook, considering all the good things she is involved in, so without taking up any more space, I am going to let Helen tell you her story herself. But I first do want to say how very much I appreciate her sharing so generously, and I know you do, too. Let me hear from YOU soon, too!
My name is Helen Miko. My husband Matt and I have been married for almost 20 years, and we have a 15 year-old daughter, Katie. We live in Spring City. We moved to Spring City in April of 2007 from New Haven, Conn. My husband is a physician's assistant, and I am a former teacher. Katie is a tenth grader at Rhea County High School. I grew up in a family who loved to cook - both of my parents had a great influence on my cooking. Some of my earliest memories of my mother, is of my helping to make Christmas cookies with her. My mother always made a dozen or more kinds of cookies each year to give away as Christmas presents. I have carried on her Christmas cookie tradition as well. My mother always told me - the first time you make a recipe, make it like it reads, after that, have fun with it - and I do. I also knew that whenever the peaches were in season, I would find a peach pie for me when I came home. My Dad knew I love peach pie, and would make one for me. And he made his own crust too. It was quite a few years after he died, before I was able to make a peach pie for myself. I guess I have to say my greatest baking and cooking influence is my mother (who also had the name Helen). And from what I have been told, she carried it down from HER mother. (I never knew my grandmother. She had died before I was born.) So, I guess the love of baking and cooking is genetic. I have tried to inspire Katie to cook and bake as well, and she has been able to cook a full meal since she was a young child. As a matter of fact, there are a couple of recipes in here that she made with others, or she makes better than I do. I am proud to say she has become a wonderful cook and baker herself. I am very thankful she is such a good cook, because after I had my hip replacement surgery four years ago, she was the main cook in the house. Matt can do a multitude of things very well, cooking is not one of them. Katie was only 11 at the time and actually got so frustrated with him that she kicked him out of the kitchen. Baking has also been a savior, or therapy, for me during the hard times in my life. When our son, Brandon, was dying - it helped to keep me sane. Brandon's hospice nurse, Ginger, would come into the house, look at what fresh goodies were in the kitchen, and know how Brandon was doing. She told me, "The more goodies that are in the kitchen, I know how bad Brandon's been since I've been here last." It was also very therapeutic after Brandon died, and I was so newly grieving for him. Now, I bake just because I like to bake. And my parents have me a bit spoiled in the food department. I always make my own soups, tomato sauce, and such, just because I don't like the taste of the canned or jarred variety. I am a very active supporter on Facebook of support groups for special needs children and their families. Even though I was a moderator of the Yahoo group, LissAngels, (a support group for parents grieving their children with Lissencephaly and other neuromigrational disorders - what our son Brandon was born with)-I saw a great need on Facebook for one too. So, about a year ago, I started a LissAngels support group on Facebook. It is not only for parents who are grieving their child with Lissencephaly, but angel parents for any child that had a neuromigrational disorder. I also help moderate a couple of other support groups for special needs parents as well. I also help my friend Charlotte moderate a recipe group she started on Facebook called Recipe Swappers. (If you're on Facebook, I highly recommend it - all of us just trade recipes we find we really like.) I help Charlotte moderate it as she is a Special Needs parent herself and doesn't always have the time with it when her child is going through a bad stretch. I'm just a m0om who has been there, and tries to help them on their journey through it too. If I hadn't walked the walk... Besides, I truly believe that is why Brandon chose us to be his parents, because he wanted me to help others too. I am just honoring his memory by doing what he wanted me to do.
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