Drinking Good Wine with Good Food in Good Company is one of Life’s Most Civilized Pleasures

– Michael Broadbent

Welcome to my blog! I’m Dora, and I retired after working 31 years for the State of Illinois. I love wine, cooking, traveling, and hanging out with friends and family.

Tales (and Tails)

Most important discussions in my life occur amongst friends with copious amounts of wine at our favorite wine store. If I’m lucky there are a few dogs around! The Cookbook Club and our travel adventures were both hashed out over bottles of wine at our favorite watering hole.

I still remember going there the first time – it was owned by the father of one of my co-workers. I felt comfortable from the moment I walked in. And now the people who go there have become “family” to me – what a wonderful place!


My name is Dora, so I’m naturally an explorer, right?? Living in Central Illinois can seem boring, to people on the outside and the people who live here. I’m here to tell you that living in Central Illinois doesn’t suck! Really!! There are things to do if you are adventurous and want to do some exploring.

Meet my travel companions:

Sharon – recent retiree and meticulous trip planner; friends with Dora since kindergarten

Randy – long time retiree and married to Sharon; bourbon aficionado

Tim – also retired and my husband; usually along for the ride and up for anything

Cookbook Club

Our cookbook club consists of four people: 

Dora – recently retired; former intelligence analyst and manager for a state agency; collector of photos and stories

Nancy – professionally trained chef and owner of a wine store; Dean at a local community college

Laura – lawyer by trade, legislative liaison for state public health agency; former server/manager at Yellowstone National Park

Dee – registered nurse turned IT professional; former dishwasher at 4-H camp

All of us are avid cooks and professional winos. 

The premise of cookbook club is for each person to make a recipe from one specific cookbook, then gather together and eat a magnificent meal. The hostess will be responsible for the main dish, and everyone else is assigned either an appetizer, side, or dessert. Easy peasy! 

Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude.

Julia Child