I've been experimenting both successfully and unsuccessfully for the last 15 years (I'm 52). In my family, we had illness and grandma (who was the cook) did not use spice and could not eat any of the food she cooked for us. This made for some very awful things and a rather skewed perspective on food. It was years later, when I first tried Chinese food, that I was transported into awe and shock that food could taste like heaven.....
My favorite things to cook
Rich stews, variations on spaghetti, full-flavored marinated roasts and chops, quiches, and my all-time favorite things to make are sandwiches of all kinds
My favorite family cooking traditions
Ha ha. See above. My father liked steak, so we had steak, cooked plain with salt and pepper, about 3 times a week. We had pork chops dried to dust, the occasional lamb chop, and beef stew. That was it. Nothing else, ever. Canned veggies and bottled condiments including Best Foods Mayonnaise, which I use today. Oh yes, sometimes a roast beef, and turkey at Christmas. Grandma's stuffing and gravy was absolutely perfect, for all my complaining....
My cooking triumphs
A shrimp dish, with layers of thin egg dough (like won tons), the shrimp, green onions, a light cheese sauce and served with salad - it was the first thing I ever made without a recipe that turned out perfect. Also, I made my own sausage that was heavenly, got the big pork fat and everything. Also made my own pasta, didn't care about it. Pies, I finally made a good pie dough last year, also biscuits that same year 2007. It took me that long.
My cooking tragedies
Burned food! Dry meats! Weird combinations that didn't taste right at all! Once, this is the worst, I accidentally put baking soda into my stew instead of flour, and it bubbled up and overflowed like a science experiment!! I was 18.