First generation American from European parents - Polish / English. The English aren't known as good cooks, but my mother's roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, Roast leg of lamb with mint, peas and onion sauce, and her shortbread cookies are unsurpassed. My father was the cook: he loved it and was expert at sauces and roues (melanges). I have their recipes and would love to publish a book of them. I started cooking in high school, and enjoyed "throwing" ingredients together. My parents looked forward to Tuesdays & Thursdays when I would cook dinner. I've been married almost 40 years and have 3 grown, and one half-grown children (teen). I enjoy parties, especially theme parties. The Saturday before the clocks go back in the fall is the day we have these, so no one has to go home early. It's also close to Halloween, so costume ideas and props are readily available. We had medieval, French revolution, and Chicago 20's themes, among others, with costumes, settings and food of the era.
My favorite things to cook
Stir fry anything, roast beef with Yorkshire pudding, new recipes with interesting ingredients for parties, chicken thighs with seasonings & sauces, Polish bigos (hunter's stew), other Polish recipes.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Bigos, roast beef, wigilia (Christmas eve buffet - Polish), Easter buffet with babka (Polish).
My cooking triumphs
Our French revolution costume dinner. We cooked French recipes of the era. Recommended reading: Brillat-Savarin's "The Physiology of Taste".
My cooking tragedies
Our Medieval costume dinner. Not a tragedy, but the medieval era foods were British for the most part, hence not the tastiest! We used dried pita bread for plates and although the food was interesting, it wasn't highly flavored. One vegetable dish is called "compost", which doesn't add to its popularity. This was the first costume dinner party, and it was still a success, but we decided we wanted great food, so the next year we did the French revolution!