I am a graduate student born, raised, and living in Brooklyn NY. I feel very fortunate to have been brought up and still living here, because there's so much culture and delicious food. I am of Polish descent, so my comfort foods are heavy, starchy, and sweet. My cooking has also been influenced by Italian and Mediterranean styles, partially because I've been surrounded by it. I live in a mixed neighborhood with a large Middle Eastern population, so I am always able to find really good spices or get a fast, healthy meal for very cheap. I feel like right now my cooking is really starting to take on a life of it's own, as I am veering away from recipes and trying to write down my own. This is kind of a litmus test to see how well I can communicate what I do.
My favorite things to cook
I really don't have a particular thing that is my favorite; my interests are pretty diverse. I love to bake cakes and comfort foods.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I come from a large family of Eastern European descent, and growing up I loved family gatherings because there would always be traditional Polish food. I grew up on kielbasa, stuffed cabbage, potatoes, pickled vegetables, root vegetables, and simple but delicious desserts. Bread and breading is also very important in Polish cuisine; bread is never, ever wasted if it can be turned into crumbs or a stuffing. It was through these gatherings and the delicious foods that I learned about my culture.
My cooking triumphs
I am going to say that my triumph is that I learn something new and get better every time I cook something. And the four-layer coconut buttercream cake I made for my boyfriend's birthday this year.
My cooking tragedies
In college, my friend and I attempted to make jam on an electric range while baking cookies inside. The jam overflowed and leaked down into the oven, and the coils caught fire. We didn't realize it until the fire was pretty significant, but her boyfriend and his friend were able to put it out. I just buy jam at the farmer's market now.