I love to cook and it seems like it comes quite naturally, so I am very comfortable in the kitchen. I am a bit "creative" thus my family usually has joked that they will only have a certain dish "once" as it will be different the next time. One thing that I find is I dislike discarding food, so I think up ways to use up all the groceries in my kitchen. I use organic meats only, things mostly grown in the state of Oregon. We are lucky to have a fantastic grocery store, New Seasons, that has a real butcher on hand all the time! When I travel I am always interested in the food served.
My favorite things to cook
I love to make soups in the winter and salads in the summer. I have some specialty items like Chile Rellenos that my family loves. Coming up with composed salads is my summertime joy using seafood or cold meats and unusual veggies. My soups are often a vehicle for leftovers. I also plan to purchase extras of things with several meals in mind. With a bit of invention I could probably cook for a month with what I have on hand. A well-stocked pantry surely helps to create a kitchen with all sorts of potential.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My father's family came to the US from Norway and I love the baked goods that I serve at Christmastime. We also have several Mexican specialties that I cook, a turkey with chipoltle butter under the skin is especially loved, and a chicken dish with French roots is what we often have for Christmas day. I have a lovely kitchen garden and love to use the fresh herbs for cooking and decorating. I always grow nasturiums to use as highlights for cakes and platters. Here in Oregon the herb garden lasts well into the fall.
My cooking triumphs
Teaching my grand-daughter to cook while undergoing chemotherapy was one such time. I suppose parties are the time when I feel I've "triumphed." One time I did a Fertile Crescent theme, with all sorts of savory pastries and veggies from that part of the globe. The baklava for dessert was a treat. I love cooking for others, and having things so organized that I can feed people and still have a good time myself!
My cooking tragedies
I suppose early in my cooking career that there were quite a few of these. My husband obviously didn't love creamed chip beef on toast...ha ha. I also had a recent Mac and Cheese sort of problem, and solved it by recooking the entire thing with more cheese. One time I tried roasting a rather expensive crown rib roast and wasn't happy with it. I suspect that my not being much of a beef cooker is why this happened.