It's difficult for me to follow a single recipe. I either combine several different recipes or don't follow one at all and create recipes on my own. That's just the way I cook. I've NEVER written down the exact ingredients for the meals I've created and this can be quite frustrating at potlucks, etc...when someone asks for the recipe. For me, cookbooks (and I have a ton of them!) are used solely for reference or in the case of my older cookbooks of the late 1800's/early 1900's for humor and a good read. And finally, I'm a sauce girl. Love sauces of all kinds.
My favorite things to cook
Vegetables. Always looking for new veggie recipes.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Cooking was always a big event in my family and would usually take hours to create a meal. My family was heavy on the meat (2+ times per day), along with the traditional starch, usually potatoes, and a vegetable. Always had a huge Sunday dinner - Fried Chicken, Beef Roast, or Ham. My favorite dinner growing up was Beef Stroganoff -- loved the smell of simmering onions, mushrooms, beef, and WINE. My mother worked as a Banquet waitress and this made quite the impression on me. She would bring home the most decadent, the most odd, the most flavorful foods for me to try. It stuck with me when I moved out at the age of 18 and started to cook on my own. I absolutely love food and seriously take the time to enjoy it. Off the top of my head there are only two things that I don't like; bamboo shoots and water chesnuts. Can't stand them. To me, they offer nothing else but crunch -- no flavor whatsoever. Also had plenty of tomatoey-type casseroles while growing up - so not a big fan.
My cooking triumphs
I can throw anything together and it turns out fantastic!
My cooking tragedies
Haven't had many of these -- maybe five?