My mother couldn't cook, so I learned the hard way: through trial and error. I really developed an interest in cooking when I branched out on my own. In my house, I cook for my husband and myself...as well as an occasional friend or neighbor. I'm a college student, so I'm always interested in finding good, healthy, frugal recipes although on Saturday nights we tend to make something fancy. My challenge is that my husband will not eat beef, lamb or pork. I'm from the midwest, and back there, the small community churches and clubs sell wonderful little cookbooks that I love to cook out of. Usually easy recipes that are inexpensive, but sometimes they need tweaking.
My favorite things to cook
My spaghetti and meatballs became legendary after years of having "Spaghetti parties." Because spaghetti is so economical, it allowed me to have a lot of people over for dinner, sometimes as many as 20. Another thing I like to cook is a very quick and easy chicken fettucini alfredo. I also like to cook southern-style greens, turkey that is brined overnight and pretty much any other comfort food. BUT...I mostly cook relatively healthy things now that we are trying to eat healthier.
My favorite family cooking traditions
We make a sauerkraut and smoked sausage soup for New Year's that we got from a co-worker...it can give you a stomach ache, but it is worth it! For Thanksgiving and Christmas, we always have to have the usual American fare in addition to a delicious broccoli and cauliflower casserole. At Christmas, we make cherry scones and Paula Deen's White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies (cookies).
My cooking triumphs
Being a non-baker, it is always a triumph to successfully bake. Once, I made a delicious amaretto and almond cheesecake from scratch. I also made my husband a layered chocolate cake from scratch for his birthday, including frosting. Recently, my hubby and I have learned to make our own sushi...we make spicy tuna rolls and philadelphia rolls but hope to do shrimp tempura rolls next. I must say, those have been my triumphs so far. I hope to try my hand at bread making soon, although that may fall under cooking tragedies.
My cooking tragedies
Unfortunately, I have had the experience of having a few holiday disasters. My first was the first time I cooked a turkey, it was a picture-perfect turkey but when I went to carve it, it wasn't quite done and we had to microwave the carved meat. That same turkey had also caused me dismay when I discovered the bag of giblets still inside the cavity after roasting.
Although that was a bad experience (not to mention darned embarrassing), a few years ago was just as bad. It was Thanksgiving and we were having my sister-in-law over, whom I didn't know very well at the time. I went through a lot of trouble to make homemade biscuits to try to impress her but the biscuits turned out to be like hockey pucks. I still haven't lived that one down.