Canadian expat teacher in China, living in Beijing and soaking up the culture.
My favorite things to cook
I love Italian food to cook, but as I learn more about Chinese food, I'm starting to lean towards fusion food, such as playing around with jiaozi using pyrogie or ravioli fillings.
I'm also learning more about baking because Chinese have different tastes in bread (more like cake) and pastries than we do in the West.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I remember making meatpies and baking powder biscuits with my stepmother - these often became all day marathon cooking as everyone loved her meatpie and she would make a dozen of them to eat, freeze and give away. Making wonton soup and Swedish meatballs was also a family affair, as was the usual Christmas baking.
More recently, I try to have a Christmas dinner for my friends each year - I'll do up a turkey with all the trimmings, and even managed to do it in China last year. This has been a tradition for me for nearly 7 years now.
My cooking triumphs
While studying for my MA at York in the UK, I was asked by my flatmate if I'd be willing to cook a Christmas dinner for students not going home over Christmas (like myself). He told me that it would be for about 10-15 people, and the school would cover the cost. I agreed, and we posted a message to all Grad Students about the dinner.
What was supposed to be 15 wound up being 65 - far more than I ever imagined, and some with dietary requirements (vegetarian, halal). I didn't have a proper chef's kitchen either, just the kitchens in the dorms. With the help of about 6 friends, and the use of four kitchens, I not only pulled it off, but made a lot of people happy over a time usually spent with family. :-D
My cooking tragedies
The first time I ever made spaghetti - not hard to make it, but you could have chewed it like gum!