I grew the second-oldest of six kids so most of my cooking growing up included things like triple-batches of snickerdoodles and huge pans of apple crisp. Now that I'm married with a new baby I'm having fun exploring yummy (but hopefully healthy) main dishes. Living in Taiwan brings other challenges (the hunt for cottage cheese continues!).
My favorite things to cook
I enjoy making main dishes (the more flavor and spice the better), especially homey casseroles and things that utilize the Asian ingredients I find right at my fingertips here in Taiwan. I don't think I've ever put too much garlic or hot sauce in anything for my husband's taste. I've loved baking for years so when my baby lets me I like making cookies, desserts, and breads.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Good Mid-western comfort food is top on my list. After that, I love anything Mexican. My maternal grandfather insisted that my grandma make a new dessert every day, and my mom continued that tradition for years, so also I've developed quite a sweet tooth. Fresh homemade desserts are my favorites, especially anything chocolate.
My cooking triumphs
By starting early (baking became my passion when I was 14) I gave myself plenty of learning time so I've had lots of success over the years. I had a reputation as a good cook by the time I was sixteen. One triumph was when I made fudge for Valentine's Day and gave it to my boyfriend, now husband. He still talks about it today. Another recent success was when I bought a cabbage of immense proportions (the only size they have in Taiwan) and managed to use the whole thing up - for just two people! It took at least five meals to use it all.
My cooking tragedies
When I was sixteen one day I was producing pies in mass quantities (big family, remember?) and while baking single-crust pie shells in the oven the sides all fell in. They had to be thrown out. I cried in frustration, but then marched back into the kitchen and started over, and this time was successful. Four perfectly-baked pie crusts (with the sides up!).