I learned to cook at a young age because I had this annoying habit; I had to eat several times each and every day. My first teachers were Mom, Grandma and Grandpa and then I took some Culinary classes with the intention of one day being a chef. I gave up on the chef idea and now cook for pleasure...and that annoying daily habit of eating.
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook almost everything but get the most enjoyment out of preparing foreign recipes. Whether it's Spanish or Russian or Egyptian or Thai I love to make "authentic" foods that people ask me to prepare again. When they ask for the recipes (as they usually do) I consider it a success.
My favorite family cooking traditions
When making food for family or friends I like to incorporate their help and ideas. One person will grate cheese while another cuts veggies. Some bring recipes or finished dishes. And if they ask,"have you ever tried putting maple syrup in that?" I don't hesitate to try it. In the end everybody feels that they contributed and somehow it tastes better to eveyone involved.
My cooking triumphs
Preparing a huge Thanksgiving dinner for friends who were without family one year when I was much younger. Everything worked out beautifully and the foods were wonderful.
My cooking tragedies
I once had a tiny kitchen with an electric stove and broken oven, no microwave nor grill. Cooking was such a chore that I basically went without cooking for anyone but myself for several months.