Though I've been cooking for about twenty years, since I was a child following Mom's orders over the phone, I've relatively recently begun trying new and daring things - like making pie crust and soup. I have two children who are fairly easy to please when it comes to food, but my husband has some, er, peculiarities which can make cooking challenging. For one thing, he hates garlic and I love it. Yipes! Still, he's opened my mind to some basic things like fried chicken and asparragus. I'm hoping to master more basics so I can move on to more exotic dishes.
My favorite things to cook
I love baking things, particularly anything that can fit into a 9x9 glass baking dish: chicken, pork chops, fish, etc. I also am quite fond of making cookies, perhaps becuase these are always enthusiastically received by my family and I thrive on positive feedback! I enjoy doing Asian dishes when possible, though locating the ingredients and having the proper equipment are major challenges.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Well, I inherited a fear of experimentation, having been brought up on a schedule of bland basics: Baked chicken on Monday, Frozen fishsticks on Tuesday, meatloaf (with ketchup! yuck) on Wedenesday, and so on. I've had to adopt cooking traditions from other people's families, including the construction of salads and casseroles.
My cooking triumphs
I cooked a fantastic turkey back in September, and ended up with great stuffing as well. Using an oven bag is the way to go! I also quit trying to calculate exact time based on the weight of the bird and just let it cook until I see the meat separating from the leg bones.
My cooking tragedies
I recently tried making some gravy to go with chicken-fried steak and had a horrible time! I still haven't figured out what went wrong, but I couldn't get the gravy to thicken. I kept adding more and more flour, until I had used about a cup and it still seemed too soupy. Finally, I gave up and served it to my family (who politely ate it and said it wasn't perfect but also wasn't awful).
Not quite as bad as the time when I was ten and I wanted to surprise my family by baking a cake and frosting it myself. We didn't have enough powdered sugar for the frosting, so I improvised by trying to use cornstarch to thicken it!