My husband and I became interested in cooking thanks to Alton Brown (Good Eats) and, later on, America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated. We're big fans of both of them and have tried many of their recipes, usually with great success.
I've recently started baking more, after picking up "The Bread Baker's Apprentice" by Peter Reinhart. Hopefully I'll be adding more homemade bread to our diet thanks to him.
My favorite family cooking traditions
The two family recipes that stand out most in my mind are my mother's banana bread, which is more like a banana loaf cake, and my grandmother's Sunday gravy and meatballs.
I didn't realize until recently that banana bread was traditionally more like a spice cake, with nuts and a heartier crumb. In contrast, my mom's is always light, sweet, and almost cakey.
My father's family is Italian, so that meant a lot of large meals that featured some kind of pasta dish. Whether it was lasagna, ravioli, mostaccioli, or just spaghetti, it was always made with her special sauce, and sometimes she would make meatballs or braciole to go alongside.