I am an American living abroad as an English teacher in Spain. Going out to restaurants is not very common here, so I had to learn how to cook. I do everything by hand, since I don't have an electric mixer, a bread machine, a crock pot, or any other amenities - but I do have an oven! And I am expert at substitutions, since necessities like vanilla extract, powdered sugar, cranberries, and cheddar cheese don't exist here!
My favorite things to cook
Macaroni and cheese, Spanish tortilla (omelet), spicy orange beef, saffron rice, anything baked!
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother is an excellent baker. At Christmastime, we always have an array of about twelve different kinds of cookies in the kitchen, and we give away tons of tins as gifts!
My cooking triumphs
I managed, on a half-days' notice, to pull together an entire Thanksgiving dinner for ten of my friends here. They had never experienced a true American Thanksgiving, so it was very rewarding, and my search for turkey was an adventure in itself! I made lemon-herb turkey breast, au gratin potatoes, carmelized carrots, a tossed salad, and my mother's amazing pumpkin bars. A true success!
My cooking tragedies
I tried to make a two-layer chocolate cake as a surprise for my friend's birthday. The cakes rose beautifully, but I could NOT get them out of the pans, no matter what I did! I tried to scoop them out with a spatula, and they crumbled. But it was so tasty, I frosted the pieces back together into a big chocolatey mess. I reluctantly presented the cake to my friend, but she laughed goodnaturedly. Everyone said it was the best chocolate cake they'd ever had!