I learned to cook with my grandmother and aunts, but never had a chance to experiment unsupervised until I moved out on my own. Even then, fiscal responsibility demanded I not waste ingredients or electricity on unproven ideas. This past year I have finally "grokked" the concept of cooking with your nose, and even the recipes that are not amazing are still acceptably tasty. :-)
My favorite things to cook
Ratatouille. Okay, it's a highly modified recipe that might or might not qualify for the name, but the point is that I tend to make it at least once a month and sometimes twice because it is utter comfort food for me.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I boast of Italian ancestry on both sides of my family, which is a lot to live up to! I grew up on food cooked at home from scratch, every meal - this informs my opinion of recipes and likely means "satisfactory" is high praise. :-P
My cooking triumphs
I invented a recipe for trout chowder absolutely from scratch - by cobbling together two fish stock recipes and horribly mangling a chowder recipe. Not only did my dad adore it, but it also met the special dietary requirements not accounted for in any existing recipe I could find.
My cooking tragedies
My first attempt at the Family Tomato Sauce. If some of x ingredient is good, more is better - right? WRONG. Everyone refused to eat it but tried not to laugh. After two meals even *I* could not manage to eat it and it got thrown away. SIGH.
Oh, and I tried to make a cake for my 16th birthday - which was delicious but dense like... like cheesecake or something. Delicious, but sadly not cake-like.