As a teenager with a bad case of the sweet-tooth, I began to bake on Sundays. As a college student, I moved out of home and into a grungy apartment with a kitchen that was falling apart and began to eat out a lot! I moved to Japan and lived off cornflakes and beer and didn't even own an oven. (Ovens as westerners know them don't exist over here.)
Then I got married to some Canadian. Japanese society still expects a wife to do all the cooking and cleaning so, more out of a misplaced sense of responsibilty than anything else, I began to cook again. I was surprised how much I enjoyed it and quickly expanded my base of favorites. My husband stopped asking long ago if I would like a night off!
My favorite things to cook
Muffins/banana breads/cheesecakes/cookies for my husbands breakfast and my afterwork treat. (For some strange reason North Americans think that sweet things can be classified as breakfast food.)
New recipes! I love trying new things, although that can get frustrating when I can't remember what that really delicious thing I made last month was....
Asian, Mexican, Middle Eastern and Indian as I adore cilantro/coriander which is so often featured in those dishes.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Anytime my busy husband is home all morning on a weekend and I can make a big deal out of cooking a huge American or English breakfast for us. Doesn't happen more than a couple of times a year so I can go overboard!
My cooking triumphs
Most of my husbands workmates are married to Japanese people. Everytime my husband takes in his leftovers from a meal they haven't eaten since coming to Japan and gloats over it, I feel a warm glow. Shameful but true.
My cooking tragedies
For our anniversary I wanted to make saffron champagne scallops. As the saffron was roasting as per instructions, a really cool lightening storm started and I went outside to watch. Scallops had a burnt taste and our special dinner that I had planned for a month was ruined!
I also still make amateur mistakes too often. Last week I trusted my bench-top oven to cook my carrot cake and didn't test it for doneness before it was too late.