I am incapable of following a recipe without changing something, which is why allrecipes is such a great site for me.
I read the reviews as much as the recipe and adjust on the fly.
I also love to travel and eat out and try to recreate my favorite dishes.
I learned to cook by watching Rachael Ray - gotta give credit where credit is due.
I am lucky to have a husband who will try anything once and who loves spicy foods as much as I do, and to live in such a diverse place where I have access to any ingredient I could possibly want.
My favorite things to cook
I don't bake. Otherwise I am game for anything. I travel a lot and part of the fun is tasting the local cuisine. I always try to figure out the dishes I liked and make them.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I have never learned my Mom's Russian recipes because I will never be able to make them as well as she can, and she never writes anything down or knows proportions of anything she makes. I guess one day I will have to stand in the kitchen and throw things in with her.
My cooking triumphs
Thanksgiving turkey. I made it for the first time last year and my Mom kept asking me if she should have a backup - she had guests coming. Even though my oven cooked the thing in half the time it was supposed to, my husband and I kept the 14 lb bird from drying out for 2 hours and it was the best and most flavorful turkey our guests ever had (their words, not mine).
My cooking tragedies
When I was 9 I tried to make cookies for my Mom while she was at work. What I made was a doughy mess, but I made my 2 year old sister eat some. I still feel kind of bad about that, and I haven't baked since.