If you're really curious about some aspect of me, feel free to contact me with your question. You can't offend me with an honest, open inquiry.
I started cooking at about 7 years of age, when my father taught me to make stir fry (so that I would eat it when he served it, because 7-year-old brains say, "Ew, unfamiliar food. No want!"), and my habit has been, ever since, to cook from as near scratch as I can get, using fresh, whole ingredients that I prepare myself (boning, skinning and parting my own chickens, etc.), and seldom bothering to follow a recipe.
One of the invaluable things he taught me was to know my spices. If you know a spice well enough, you know exactly how or how not to use it to get the result you want out of your dish.
Another of those valuable things is how easy it is to create a proper sauce, without needing to go out and buy something loaded with MSG and preservatives for 10 times what it should cost.
That being said, following the discovery and treatment of
My favorite things to cook
I love all things stir-fry, and all things Asian cuisine. I'm not entirely sure where my wok disappeared to during my last move at this point, which is distressing primarily because it is the main vessel I employ. When I have enough money next, I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and buy myself a good quality, authentic one.
(Tip: If your wok has a flat bottom, and/or a non-stick coating, it isn't authentic, and won't give you the results you expect. At that point, it's just the horrible, useless, mutant child of an egg skillet and a saucepan, whose romance was forbidden for good reason. You want a fully rounded, spun- or hammered steel wok that has been well-seasoned and sits on a ring that fits around the burner on your stove.)
Ahem. Moving on.
I also enjoy Mediterranean/Italian cooking immensely, especially in terms of sauce creation (another skill my father passed on to me), and have, in the past few years, been gaining a familiarity and comfort with baking, to the point
My favorite family cooking traditions
I miss when my family all lived in one place, and my mother and I would get together with some family friends to bake the traditional holiday cookies. These included 'candy canes' made out of a butter cookie-ish dough flavored with peppermint extract and incorporated with appropriate food coloring and crushed peppermint candies, as well as another cookie which was made of what I think must have been a peanut butter cookie sort of dough rolled into a ball, into the center of which was placed a Hershey's kiss (thereby flattening the center of the cookie). I have no idea what these were/are called, if anything.
My cooking triumphs
I have become very accomplished at making soups/broths from scratch as I have recovered, which is quite satisfying. Also, this past St. Patrick's Day, I was able to organize and prepare a cabbage and corned beef dinner (complete with soda bread) from scratch for a group of about 50 family, friends, and strangers. I have always gotten much more pleasure out of cooking for others than for myself.
My cooking tragedies
I should preface this with the important information that, due to injuries stemming from my brain tumor, I can no longer detect certain odors. The more pungent/offensive they are, the less likely it is that I will be aware of them.
I am no longer allowed to possess a slow cooker/crockpot because of an incident a couple of years ago, in which my memory damage played a huge part. It involved me starting something I intended to contribute to a Thanksgiving get-together, and my sister finding it by following the smell from the parking lot when she came to see me on an unrelated matter... in January.
The crockpot was still on, too.