I'm a Midwestern transplant who'd never heard the word "hotdish" until I moved to Minnesota. Even though I love it here, I won't be caught dead eating lutefisk.
My favorite things to cook
Baked goods: brownies, breads, cookies and now pies. I make a great vegetarian chili too.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother isn't Italian, but I have fond memories of her Italian cooking for family birthdays. I remember her making fabulous manicotti and stuffed shells; I'm positive it's why I love Italian food!
My cooking triumphs
Baking my very first pie. It was an apple-cranberry streusel pie, with a streusel topping instead of pie crust. I made the bottom crust from scratch and was surprised that it didn't fall apart!
My cooking tragedies
I once made a cobbler using frozen fruit. Since I didn't drain and dry the frozen berries first, the cobbler was pretty runny and sloppy. The flavor was good, but the lavender in the crumble topping isn't everyone's idea of tasty.