I was born and raised in the San Diego area and have lived here almost my whole life. I have been cooking since I was probably 7 or 8. I guess my mom taught me the basics but a lot of it was just curiosity and the love of making food for other people. I remember having friends over for sleepovers and making pancakes the next morning (my first cookbook was a Disney cookbook for kids). I remember making and decorating sugar cookies with my family every Christmas. Now my dad and I trade recipes because he, like me, likes to try new things. My goal is to put together a family cookbook with all the recipes I grew up with so that everyone in the family can have one.
My favorite things to cook
I really like to try new things. Right now I'm on an Asian kick although I always love to try Italian. I used to like baking more than cooking but that has changed. I like the freedom that comes with cooking - baking is too precise. Usually I enjoy simple recipes that taste great but sometimes I feel the need to try complicated and fancy recipes.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanksgiving and Christmas is a big time for cooking traditions. I have taken over preparation for most of both meals on those days. Sometimes I try new things but for the most part, I have a hard time deviating from the traditional dishes. Baking is also big during this time. When I was young, I remember making cookies with my mom, sister, aunt, and cousins for Christmas. I also remember cinnamon roll day with my grandma. We spent a whole day making dozens of cinnamon rolls to give to everyone. Now I have my traditonal baking that everyone looks forward to. I try new things every year but always bring back the favorites. I make around 20 pounds of candy and about 600 cookies each Christmas.
My cooking triumphs
Every time I try something new and people like it, I consider it a triumph. There are certain recipes though that get requested over and over, like my spinach quiche or French toast casserole for brunches. Also my pumpkin pie is big.
My cooking tragedies
When I was 12 or so, I remember wanting to make a chocolate cake with peppermint cream filling. I read the directions wrong and messed up the whole cake. I wanted to start over but didn't have enough ingredients. I was so devastated, my mom went out and bought me new ingredients so I could start over. In the end, the cake wasn't worth the effort put into it.