My family has always been close, & while growing up I spent summers with my grandparents & Great Gramma(who came to Iowa in a covered wagon). When I was 4, my Great Gramma would have me in the kitchen helping out with measuring & stirring, & in the garden she would show me what different plants were & how to know when they were ready to pick. By the time I was 8, I could make boxed things like mac & cheese, 'tinned soup', & homemade cookies all by myself. She taught me that the most important ingredient in any recipie is love. Try to think positively about how what you are making will turn out, how much your loved ones will enjoy what you made, & how much you love those people & what you are doing. I've still had failures in the kitchen-things flop, people don't like some stuff no matter WHAT you do to it, but we've always been able to laugh about it and try something else next time (remember, pizza delivery is a common result of kitchen experimentation!)
My favorite things to cook
Holiday meals because everyone's together and helping out, and it's not unusual for everything to be made from scratch. I love to make things from scratch, no matter how long it takes, though it's hard to always do in this day & age. I save the real time-consuming things for my days off from work & it makes those days extra special. Doubley so if friends or family members can join us for dinner & games afterwards. To stay within budget, either we take turns hosting, or everyone pitches in on an agreed menu.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Every Yuletide my family celebrates it's Croatian roots by making Rouskies (a rich butter and creamcheese cookie filled with dates and nuts, and covered in powdered sugar), and all holidays are Celtic inspired(another part of my heritage).
My cooking triumphs
I love it when I can open peoples taste horizens. For example: My Son's friend HATED banana bread with a passion, but to humor me, he tried a bite-and ended up eating half the loaf! Also, making cakes from scratch took me a while(see my cooking tragedies)-the first time I tried making a cake, I didn't know there was really any difference in flours and I was trying a new recipie that called for cake flour. I used normal white, all-purpose flour. It took me a long time to try making another cake after that, and it was just for desert, rather than a special occasion, but I used one of the family standards, and it turned out o.k. Eventually I tried the very first cake recipie again(using cake flour this time)& when it turned out great I was so proud!
My cooking tragedies
The first time I tried to bake a cake from scratch was horrendous! It was for my Mom's 40th B-day, and, well...I never knew something that greasy could be so hard. We had to throw the knife away with the cake because we couldn't get it out! I HAVE learned to make edible cakes since then, but they're usually accompanied by laughter at the tale of that first time!