I hated cooking until I left to study in a small town in Belgium for a year, where I had 2 options: cook dinner or starve! Now I'm living in Asia, and trying my hand at a very different world of food.
My favorite things to cook
Before I started cooking "real food", I was an avid baker ... my specialties are still breakfast and dessert. Cakes, cookies, and breads always make me (and my roommates) happy :)
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother comes from a long line of great cooks. My family ate dinner together at the table every night, and there was never a shortage of freshly baked cookies in the jar!
My cooking triumphs
Belgium is a cold climate, so I wanted something on hand that I could keep in the freezer and use for a quick, hot meal. My mom gave me the pasta sauce recipe that our family has loved for years. I was a little apprehensive (how do you find "crushed plum tomatoes" in a Dutch supermarket?), but the final result earned praise even from the Italian students in my dorm!
My cooking tragedies
I tried to substitute apple sauce for oil in a cake recipe, just like I did in America ... turns out European apple sauce has MUCH more flavor (and bigger chunks of real apple) than apple sauce back home. It was too strong and acidic and overwhelmed the entire cake!