I have high expectations about how food should taste. After all, if it doesn't taste good, why eat it? :) And, I'm my own worst critic when it comes to cooking. I used to be, in my opinion at least, LOL, a very good cook which I attribute to growing up with incredible cooks. But, I've discovered that, again, for me, cooking is a skill and years of making do with microwave and precooked foods, have greatly diminished my kitchen skills. So, I'm now trying to get better.
My favorite things to cook
"Real" country Southern food. For example, where I'm from, we NEVER put sugar or flour in cornbread. Peas are not English or sugar, but are zipper creams. Butterbeans are tiny and either green or speckled. You don't actually put cream, or milk, in cream corn - basically it is just sweet corn cut off the cob with all the scraped "cream" and cooked in a cast-iron skillet with bacon grease, salt and pepper. Lots of other things, too, that I suppose even vary from one Southern region to another. Southern food, I have discovered, is not the same from one area to another, but, to me, it is what is common in rural South Alabama.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Anything I remember cooking with my beloved Mama Rosie. Thanksgiving morning was always fun because I'd help her make the Southern cornbread dressing and my job was to peel and chop the eggs. When I did this, a lot fewer egg whites made out into the dressing because I ate so many of them.
She was locally renowned for her delicious cooking and other favorites include her amazing 14 layer chocolate cake (very thin layers made in cast iron skillets and coated with a cooked icing), chicken and dumplings (made with ice water and rolled), coca-cola ham studded with cloves, unbelievably delicious vegetables from our farm, bream with home fries, cheese grits and hush puppies. I could go on and on, she was the best Southern cook and there are just too many things to list. Bottom line is that that not only did she epitomize the Southern country cook, but she was, and will always be, my inspiration.
My cooking triumphs
Anything that I manage not to burn and that stands up to all the great food I ate growing up on a farm in the Deep South.
My cooking tragedies
Too many to remember. ;)