I grew up on a pig farm in Central Pennsylvania - lots of fresh veggies, fruit, nuts - and of course pork! Our neighbors had a dairy farm, so several times a week my sisters and I would take turns walking through the fields to their barn with a 2 gallon Tupperware jug for fresh milk. Our parents would also work out 'meat trades' - we'd have a hog butchered and give them half and they would return the favor with one of their steers.
I grew up helping my mother pickle, can and freeze - we even dabbled in making our own cheese and butter.
Anyway, I'm a married mother of 2 now who lives in suburban Florida. I've really needed to learn how to shop (no root cellar full of preserves) and adjust how I cook. Luckily my husband is a Florida boy who went to culinary school. He doesn't cook, but gives me tips! And gardening in Florida is quite a challenge. Sweet potatoes are the only thing that seems to thrive here.
Baking is the one thing in the kitchen that hasn't changed!
My favorite things to cook
Baking. Growing up, I was in charge of all baking in the house.
Cooking is a challenge, especially getting all components of a dinner ready at the same time. I'm getting better, though.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Every Sunday after church, my 3 year old and I bake cookies. Her favorite are cut-outs, which means lots more effort for Mommy. We do those about once a month as a concession. I try to steer our baking sessions toward drop and bar cookies! She was thrilled when Santa brought her her very own little apron and rolling pin this year for Christmas.
My cooking triumphs
I make a mean cheesecake. Really.
I've also recently come to love my mother-in-law's breadmaker. I scorned them when they first came out, but now recognize the labor-saving aspects of this wonderful machine. I use the dough cycle and then take it from there on my own.
My cooking tragedies
Every year in early December my friends and I get together for a cookie baking party. We all bring either pre-prepared dough or the necessary ingredients to make our cookies and spend an entire day doing nothing but baking. Well, drinking too, and that's wherein the tragedy lies. The day usually ends with the group of us out on the back deck chitty-chatting and drinking when someone sniffs the air and says "Do you smell something burning?". Needless to say, the last batch of cookies ends up burned to a crisp and we call it a day.
It happens every year - you'd think we'd learn by now!