I've been cooking since I was five years old, when I learned how to boil water and toss in Ramen noodles. Since I have friends who tremble at the mere thought of boiling water, I think being able to cook your own meal, no matter how simple, counts.
My favorite things to cook
There are people who cook, and people who bake. People who do both with ease? Well, they are chefs! As a self-pronounced cook and lover of all things salty, exotic and spicy, I am constantly trying out new recipes. My tried and true favorites, however, are simple dishes from my childhood, like Golden Mushroom Chicken and Rice, No Peek Chicken, Stuffed Peppers or Hot Chicken Salad. Since my favorite food in the world is soup, come fall I find myself drawn to hearty stews like Chicken Vegetable and flavorful soups like my friend Peg's world-class Italian Wedding. Is your mouth watering yet?
My favorite family cooking traditions
Ha! My family doesn't have "cooking" traditions, we have "eating" traditions!
My cooking triumphs
My first triumph was for my mother's fiftieth birthday. I was just 15, and a week before her birthday I convinced her to bake a pie. My mother's pie crusts are classically divine, and after carefully watching her and asking subtle questions about what she had done to make that perfectly flaky crust or design those intricate doughy flowers on its top, I was prepared. The day of her birthday I got home an hour before she did from school and set to work. Using all my stored up training I baked her a cherry pie, just like she usually did, and then carefully cut the number "50" across its top before popping it in the oven. She was so proud of me she photographed the surprise pie. It was excellent, too!
My cooking tragedies
My biggest disaster happened when I was 14, and it was at that time that I learned the importance of moderation when it comes to herbs and spices. I had decided to make a tuna noodle casserole, a recipe that had been delivered to my house as part of one of those "collect-them-all!" programs. I admit, the recipe probably wasn't all that great to begin with. It called for dried dill leaves, but I went a little dill-happy. It wasn't pretty. The resulting concoction has left me with a strong dislike of dill, and even now, over a decade later, I can still clearly remember its taste. Ugh.