I cook beacuse I enjoy it. I love taking recipes and playing with them, adding and omitting things, changing it to meet my pickiness. I'm very picky.
The person who influenced me the most (not just in cooking but in everything) was my maternal grandmother. She was a wonderful loving person and enjoyed showing her love through cooking.
When we moved my grandparents into and assisted living home Grandma gave me all her cookbooks and her recipe box. It was one of the best moments of my life. I felt very honored that she trusted me with her secrets. I'm even hisitant to give those recipes to my other family members. ;-)
My favorite things to cook
I love making cheesecakes for my husband, Scott. He's a HUGE cheesecake fan. I also love making Italian food. My grandmother was born in Italy and is/was a wonderful cook. I also met my husband while we both worked at an Italian restaurant, so I like trying to make things that they made or similar.
I also enjoy discovering new things for Scott to grill. Growing up my dad was "the best BBQer in the world". I love it when I find a marinade or recipe that gives Scott that title.
My favorite family cooking traditions
As I said, Grandma was a wonderful cook. For Christmas Eve we always had Lasgana. She made as much as she could home made. First it was the noddles, the sauce and the meatballs, then it was just the sauce and meat balls, using the dried noodles, then at the end she'd use the Stoffer's meatless lasagna, but still made her own sauce and meat balls. She also made Christmas cookies every year. Sprints, Crescent cookies, Oatmeal Banana Walnut cookeis and Pineapple Cocoanut cookies. Also every birthday she used to make sponge cake with butter cream frosting.
My cooking triumphs
The first time I ever made cheesecake I was so excited. I heard about how they can crack and was worried it wouldn't taste as good as Scott would like. It turned out beatiful! No cracks. I found out later that Scott didn't care what it looked like as long as he got cheese cake and he didn't have to share.
My cooking tragedies
The first time... okay the first 4 times I made Grandma's sponge cake it was awful. The first time my father had gotten the wrong pan and the cake wouldn't come out. We redid it and it came out but it wasn't as pretty as Grandma's. The next time I made it, I used the right pan, but still it ripped when it came out. When I redid it it turned out perfect, but I add some lemon to the frosting. It was still good, but not Grandma's. The next time the whole cake fell apart and I didn't even try again. The last time I made it, my husband suggested that I greaase the pan. The cake came out no problem, but once out it "deflated" It was the funniest looking thing. I redid it again, once again it ripped, but I was able to salavage it. I added too much food coloring to the frosting so it looked very shiney. It tasted perfect, but didn't look at that great. One of these days I will get it right!