I'd say the advent of the Food Network got me interested in getting into the kitchen and getting dirty, trying new things and learning some techniques. Several years later, I cook with the right balance of common sense and a decent palate. Most recently, my husband and I have adapted the Paleolithic way of eating (essentially gluten-free, sugar-free, dairy-free). A HUGE departure but I've enjoyed trying new recipes and adapting others.
My favorite things to cook
Anything, really. Still kind of scared of entire birds.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I wish I could say I come from a long line of good home-cookin' ladies. But I don't. My grandmother was famous for using straight pins in a roast (then forgetting to remove them) and my mother never picked up a spice or herb throughout my childhood. It was not until I was a teenager that I found out food was supposed to have taste. My Italian and Greek friends (and their mothers) opened my eyes to the world of food.
My cooking triumphs
My own inventions: The Perfect Chili and PALEO versions of traditional recipes (beef stir fry, veal milanese, coconut chicken tenders, garlic and basil "rice"
Other people's recipes: Pumpkin lasagne, Pork tenderloin with balsamic reduction, Sweet Potato fries with herbes de Provence, Sauteed Portobello mushrooms, Chicken piccata, Veal Milanese
My cooking tragedies