I didn't learn to cook until after I was married. Mom was a wonderful cook, but never had the patience to teach anyone anything. I learned with the help of "Joy of Cooking", a wonderful primer, intermediate, and expert text. By the time I had children, I was able to make their baby food. They didn't know what store-bought bread was until they were 5 years old. From there, I just went on to bigger and better things. When FoodTV came on, I was in foodie heaven.
My favorite things to cook
I love to make Caesar's Salad from Vincent Price's recipe (the best I have ever tasted). There is a trick to the coddled egg that he didn't know back then that makes the egg safe to eat.
I also like to cook comfort foods like: Beef stew, Beer-Cheese soup,
Pot Roast, Stuffed pork chops, slow-cooked country ribs, Ida's Ultimate Salad Dinners (These are salads with a 3-4oz. serving of grilled meat sliced on top of a mixed greens bed, with nuts, fruit, and many veggies in the mix, with a homemade dressing for dipping on the side.) I lost a lot of weight (over 90 lbs.) eating these salads for dinner, and never once felt deprived.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Just before my son left for college, he asked me to show him how to prepare all the "cheap and easy" meals I had in my repertoire. Those recipes were made from my childhood memories of what Mom made when I was growing up and I had copied (by taste). They are: Potato Soup(and all it's varieties),Elbow Mac & Beef Casserole, Homemade Spaghetti Sauce,Homemade Noodles, Chicken or Beef Pot Pies, GrannyBurgers,(nothing much different from a regular hamburger, just made to a larger dimension, to fill a bun with ground round).
Those recipes (all from scratch and with all their variations)put my son and his tummy through college.
they remain in use in both our households today, but rarely in his, since he has become a Chef! Now he does much fancier cooking for himself - he is his own guinea pig.
My cooking triumphs
It was my house where the kids all gathered, because my husband and I cooked real food. No one ever left my table hungry. People still brag on my cooking, often calling me "the Exotic cook", because I live in a small city in a farming area where people usually just use salt and pepper for seasoning. By comparison, my cooking does seem "exotic", due to the range and layers of spices I use.
My cooking tragedies
When I was a newlywed, I somehow managed to burn green beans on several occasions. Once, the neighbors called the fire department, because of the smoke coming out of my kitchen window. I was mortified.