I grew up in a home were my mother worked full-time, so cooking for her was more about nutrition than flavor. "Chef Boyardee" dinners(the one's with the spaghetti, the sauce and the cheese, all in one box) and "Hamburger Helper" were the norm. Baking to me was a "Duncan Hines" cake mix. About 25 years ago(wow,that long ago)I stumbled through an homemade apple pie recipe to impress some long forgotten guy. The pie, I remember, it came out great!! And I've been hooked ever since. I'm by no means a chef but,I've become a pretty decent cook and baker. I enjoy going out to restaurants and trying to identify the ingredients they use and recreate the meals at home. I guess one of my dreams would be, for one day to open my own restaurant but, my real joy in cooking comes from the relaxation it provides me and the satisfaction I get when my family enjoys something I've prepared.
My favorite things to cook
One of the things I enjoy most about cooking is trying new things. I'll try most anything once(See cooking tragedies). I suppose, I'm also a bit of a snob, I will seldom make anything prepackaged. I just don't see the point when it's usually just as fast and it taste so much better from scratch. I probably get the most enjoyment from baking. It's still a marvel to me to be able to create at home, something I thought growing up was only available at a bakery.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Every Christmas eve, for as long as I can remember, my family gets together for a late evening feast that for some reason involves only seafood. This is usually one of the only times during the year we all get to see one another. Growing up, we weren't big on eating fish but, through the years our menu has grown to the point of being ridiculous(Last years main courses included lobster, baked walleye in a creamy dill sauce, salmon patties and crab legs). We eat to the point of not wanting any of the decadent desserts that line the nearby breakfast bar, so we all take home a large sampling of each. After dinner we retire to the living room where Santa has "mysteriously" left presents and we try to digest our meals while catching up with each other. This tradition has lasted for 3 generations now and it's what I look forward to the most about the holidays.
My cooking triumphs
Last summer I found a Zucchini pie recipe on this site. I'm not usually a deceitful person but, I was growing very weary of hearing my boyfriend's rants against one of my favorite vegetables, so I really don't feel responsible for my actions(smile). I baked the pie and yes! just as the reviews stated, it tasted just like an apple pie!! It may not have been a cooking triumph but, I have to admit I enjoyed watching him gobble up most of the pie, complimenting me all the while, before I confessed the ingredients.
My cooking tragedies
Gosh, there's so many and not enough space to describe them all. The banana/ham casserole, the dog wouldn't eat, comes immediately to mind. Not to mention the Texas chili which was too hot for any human to consume was another not so shining moment for me.