I started cooking around age 8 or so when I just knew that I could replicate that great potato salad from church picnics. My first memory of cooking was a Sunday pot roast with potatoes and carrots and a chocolate pudding pie for my Dad at Father's Day. I was in 5th grade. I set out on my quest as a teenager trying to make the perfect batch of rice, my starch of choice. It took years and I still struggle a bit.
My favorite things to cook
Soups and pizza for now, but there are many more. I use whatever is left in the fridge and cupboard and go to town. I love to incorporate as much fresh vegetables as possible whenever I can.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I always make corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick's, I used to make my kid's and husband's favorite meals for their birthday dinner. I have baked Christmas cookies (iced, of course), breads, and candies for many years to share with family. My favorite is making enchiladas like my late Mom used to make whenever I can. These days I take the ingredients and make a whole casserole out of it.
My cooking triumphs
My husband says that it was the wonderful (HUGE) omelette and pepper steak I prepared for him when we were dating that convinced him that I was the one! I once spent an entire winter of weekends experimenting with different soups, got some great keeper recipes. Made a wonderful turkey breast stuffed with fresh herbs and butter under the skin for one Christmas. I help my husband making traditional menudo (tripe soup) for more flavor in the broth. We have collaborated many times. Another triumph has to be the Pumpkin Cheesecake from a favorite restaurant recipe book. Most requested dessert at the family Christmas table for years. This year I tried making toffee with great results. Sent my son's girlfriend home with a whole package of toffee and fudge which no one else was allowed to touch. Baked apples are my husband's favorite that I make. Those really impressed him.
My cooking tragedies
It has to be the Chile Verde from the 1975 version of the New York Times cookbook. My mother had never made this dish before and my husband loved it, so I gave it a try not knowiing that SUGAR was not an ingredient! It was the ONLY dish we ever tossed out and the ONLY disappointing dish I ever served him, he just told me recently. We laugh about it now!