I'm a Yankee transplanted into the deep south for a while, now a "half-back" living in southwest Virginia. Because of the different places where I've lived, my cooking now includes not only the Pennsylvania Dutch cooking I was raised on and the Slovak cooking I acquired through marriage, but also the wonderful barbecue, southern and Cajun food of the South. Mexican and Italian food are also favorites. Since I discovered Allrecipes, my cooking repertoire has expanded even more. I love being able to read the reviews of a recipe and the tips other users provide (although the reviewers who say they changed 17 things and the dish was terrible make me crazy!)
My favorite things to cook
I enjoy baking, especially bread, quick breads and cookies. I also like to try new desserts. Now that we don't have any children at home, I can branch out into foods that wouldn't fly with kids, and we try new recipes just about every week. Looking at the most recent recipe reviews often gives me ideas for something new to try.
My favorite family cooking traditions
There are some foods you just don't mess with, for example, pumpkin pie. I've used the same recipe for 35 years, and it was my mother's before that. Don't serve me pumpkin cheesecake for Thanksgiving! Other holiday foods are also pretty much standard, and to my mind it helps to make the holiday memorable when these special foods are eaten year after year. Several years ago I made a cookbook for my grown children in which I included all our family favorite recipes, as well as a little history of where each recipe came from, and any other interesting information about it.
My cooking triumphs
Although age and complacency have dimmed the tradition, when I was newly married I was the family Christmas Cookie Queen and each year I would make dozens of different kinds of cookies that everyone loved. I basked in everyone telling me how wonderful I was. More recently, it tickled me when I brought a broccoli salad to a pot luck, and one woman told me she wasn't going to eat any dessert, she was just going to go back and get a big plateful of my salad.
My cooking tragedies
One Christmas I made an ice cream cake for dessert. I thought mint chocolate chip ice cream would be nice for the holiday, and since the brand I used was white, not green, I thought adding some creme de menthe would be nice for color, and a gourmet touch. Any chemistry I had ever learned went out the window with that decision. The ice cream remainded soupy, even when placed outside on a porch in temperatures in the teens. Still tasted good, though.
And then there was the time I went out to Good Friday afternoon services forgetting I'd left eggs on the stove to boil for Easter eggs. You'd be amazed how far exploded eggs can fly, and how many little pieces they can turn into! They must have made quite a noise, too, because our cat was totally spooked for a long time.