I'm one of those laid back cooks who doesn't sweat small mistakes. This is because, generally speaking, I choose recipes that won't end up inedible if I screw up a little.
I'm not entirely a vegetarian, but I never cook meat. Except for meatloaf (and we all know that ground beef's status as "meat" in the conventional sense of the word is sort of iffy).
I love bread, but I've never tried to make it at home; the whole process of kneading the dough and letting it rise and punching it... just seems scarily complex and time consuming to me right now. So making edible bread is a goal of mine for the fall...
I also have never tried to make candy. I understand that candy is really easy to ruin... you can't stir it too much or too little, your mixture has to reach a precise temperature, you can't make it on too warm a day or too humid a day... Jupiter has to be aligned with Venus and the moon just entering its third quarter, etc. That said, I would like to try to make toffee this holiday
My favorite things to cook
Desserts, casseroles, pasta based Italian dishes, easy vegetarian fare.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I come from a long line of Southerners, and have officially taken over cooking Thanksgiving dinner for my family (except the turkey because I don't do meat. Mom just brings a turkey breast from Honeybaked Hams or something). I always make my great-grandmother's really awesome sweet potato casserole (no marshmallows- the topping we use is far superior!) and her cornbread dressing, along with all the other generic fixings, like mashed potatoes. I try a different dessert every year.. and usually make some for Christmas too. I want to make candy that I can give as a gift this year.
My cooking triumphs
I feel good every time I try a new recipe and it ends up edible. I also like to cook dishes that have been in my family for generations; I like the feeling of carrying the proverbial torch.
My cooking tragedies
I've never gotten a cheesecake "just right." The first few I made were overcooked and wound up cracked and dry. My most recent attempt came out not quite firm enough. Or sweet enough, for that matter. But I've really been studying up, so hopefully this year will be the year of the perfect cheesecake.