I have the most incredible wife (that is obviously not about me, but because she is my life and makes me deleriously happy, I pay respects as such here)I love cooking for her because it makes her so happy to feel loved and pampered. I am self-employed which fortunately gives me the time and flexibility to spend some time cooking..
My favorite things to cook
Traditional Jewish foods such as beef brisket with potato pancakes. Matzo balls w/ homemade whole chicken soup, cheese blintzes, kasha varnishkas, corned beef, cabbage and potatoes, roasts, braised lamb and more.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Passover Sedar with as many family members and good friends as I can fit. Thanksgiving in New England with my wife, parents and grandparents.
My cooking triumphs
Cooking a prime rib buffet dinner for 30-ish people. Everything went off without a hitch. Although I have had the good fortune of hosting a number of wonderful dinner parties. They were almost all triumphs because the people I cooked for were & are fantastic, grateful and a joy to serve.
My cooking tragedies
Thanksgiving dinner in Vermont when I was 15. I ate with 5 or 6 friends about my age (actually 3 or 4 years older than myself), They knew I cooked well and ask me to do the majority and organize everything. The meal was going 100% perfectly. The wine was flowing rapidly. At the moments just before eveything was ready, I took the foil off of the turkey to brown and crisp the skin (which I always did and still do today). I went into the living room to chat whil it browned when suddenly a huge billowy cloud of thick acrid smoke came pouring into the room. I ran for the oven and when I put out the burning turkey (3rd degree burns over 95% of it's poor turkey body)and attempted to salvage some. It was terrible. It ranged from dry and chewy to crunchy charcoal flafored. But we all had a couple more glasses of wine and enjoyed all of the other wonderful foods and the great companionship. I will always remember that with fondness.