I love to cook, especially baking and desserts. My mother, who was an excellent country cook, taught me a lot in the kitchen, and I was making my own cooked fudge from the age of 12. I also enjoy cooking meals, as I like trying out different spices and sauces.
My favorite things to cook
Mostly I like making pies, specialty cakes, cookies, fudge and custards. One of my very favorite recipes is a bread pudding, but this one is to die for and made with craisins, not raisins. My family loves the pies that I make, and they all say that my crust is what really does it for them, but they love what is inside as well. I always tell them that the key to a good crust is the amount of water you use in the dough - just enough to make it barely stick together - too much and it becomes gooey and will not turn out light and flaky.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My very favorite family cooking tradition was letting my children pick what dessert they wanted for their birthday - not just a cake. I put candles in pies, cookies, brownies, custards, and even English Trifle. My children all had their favorite dessert, and that is what they wanted for their birthday or when they came home to visit from college or wherever.
My cooking triumphs
Pleasing people is my triumph; and I always loved it that my family loved the cooking and the desserts. My children were so spoiled, because they didn't know what a "box mix" was. I enjoyed cooking and baking, and we lived overseas for so many years where we could not get anything boxed anyway. Consequently, my children are all good eaters of all types of foods and they are all great cooks.
My cooking tragedies
When I first started cooking on my own for my husband and toddler (aged 21) and for the first time had a couple over for dinner, I made home-made chicken and dumplings, the way my mother taught me; but I over salted it and was so embarrassed. But my friends were so sweet about it and ate anyway. I never made that mistake again, but I made plenty of chicken and dumplings again - my family loved it.