My favorite things to cook
My host mother and father in Japan cooked all sorts of wonderful things for me that my family in America never made before, so I like practicing Japanese cooking because it brings back such warm memories. I loved watching okaasan cook - she was wonderful at it and explained just about everything she did if she knew I was watching.
Lately I've also really gotten into experimental cooking, and have come up with a few good recipes from it. It doesn't always go well, but that's why it's called "experimental!" My mom says I take after my grandma in this respect. She's always trying new things out too, and she's in her 80s...
I'm also always looking to make things that are at least somewhat healthy for me, and trying new things that I never would eat as a child (or never got the chance to eat) is also fun :)
My favorite family cooking traditions
Basically anything involving cooking with friends or family makes me happy. My boyfriend also enjoys cooking, so we cook together when we can. Dinner parties and "Fake Thanksgiving" (cooking a Thanksgiving feast and inviting anyone you want to share it with - on a day that's NOT Thanksgiving) are two ideas I've been introduced to recently that I think I'm going to have to spread to everyone I know.
My cooking triumphs
My boyfriend is kind of a picky eater and has the same kind of simple and intense tastes as he did when he was a kid. Thankfully, at the very least he tries what I make even if he thinks he won't like it. When I cook him something new that he's skeptical about and he likes it, I feel really good :)
My cooking tragedies
The first time I made meringue cookies, I didn't whip the egg whites nearly enough (I was doing it by hand using a wire whisk), which resulted in very VERY soupy cookie dough (more like batter really) and I didn't know the difference, so I baked them and they were very hard and flat. They didn't taste good at all >_<
There was also the first time I made sekihan (Japanese red beans and rice) - it tasted awful and I had made a giant pot of it, and normally I eat my cooking mistakes anyway because I don't want to waste it, but it tasted so awful that I threw it all away.
I also made tomato soup from scratch the other day and added milk and it curdled pretty badly. It wasn't smooth but tasted just fine, so maybe it's not such a tragedy.