I spend a lot of time outside or reading, but in my spare time I love to cook. Growing up, often my mother was working too much to cook; I learned to fend for myself. After a few hundred frozen dinners, soup from a can, and bologna sandwiches I decided cooking would be a very useful thing to learn.
My favorite things to cook
Hands down grilled foods-primarily shrimp and trout. I also love to concoct frozen drinks (i.e. exotic milkshakes, slushies, etc.).
My favorite family cooking traditions
My grandmother cooked constantly. When I was little, I'd ask her for a recipe for her fantastic food and she'd reply, "A handful of this, a dash of that, and a pinch of this." It drove me nuts until I became experienced enough to determine when it was time to distinguish the correct thickness and texture of foods. Now I do the same. My mom, who can cook but doesn't do so often, doesn't understand either of us!
My cooking triumphs
Making my first stew was probably my biggest. I hadn't intended to make a stew, and I had never done so before. I had no clue what ingredients I needed or what type to make. I spent 2 hourss researching what spices to put in a chicken stew because I didn't have any beef or pork in the house. It's very funny thinking of the way I stumbled through everying, but when I was finished even my somewhat picky family liked it.
My cooking tragedies
Biggest: The first 3 batches of peanut butter cookies. I don't to this day know what the deal was, but I followed a recipe I'd gotten to the letter yet couldn't get them right. The first batch burned 5 minutes before the minimum time set on them-the next batch took 10 minutes later than the set time. The third batch was slightly burnt on the bottom, and, though they were level and evenly spread, doughy in the center. It took me months to build up the courage to try again-esp. since those cookies were for a function the next day!