I'm a Minister in the Metro Detroit area, also working an additional full-time clerical job until I can enter full-time Ministry. I had a mother who always involved me in the kitchen, let me "crack the eggs", "stir in the sugar" until I was old enough to do more. Soon I was stuffing turkeys, frying chicken, etc. Pie crust I still have not mastered - maybe someday. :) But more and more I am enjoying experimenting and learning more about food. As I heard one awesome cook say (who taught herself by reading a cookbook),"If you can read a cookbook, and take the time to learn it, you can do it." I wholeheartedly agree. I also am a huge fan of Food Network. "Chopped" being one of my fave shows...I also love Geoffrey Zakarian - that guy is the MacGuyver of food. :) So glad he was selected to be the next Iron Chef; really enjoy what he comes up with. Love to watch Food Network and get more ideas, so interesting!
My favorite things to cook
I was raised in Arizona - with a lot of wonderful Mexican women who taught me and fed me authentic Mexican food. My softspot is for authentic mexican. I L-O-V-E to make enchiladas and other mexican specialties. (I want to learn to make chile relleno sometime soon too.) Italian is great to make too; pastas, etc. But I also enjoy creating a great stew, soup, or grilling a great steak, etc. I also really love baking great desserts and breads.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Now that I know how to make my own cranberry sauce (especially since it is so simple), I have to make my own. :) The same goes for sweet potatoes - I just can't imagine buying certain things in a can anymore, now that I know I can prepare them. (Instant potatoes?! What?) Thanksgiving is awesome - just can't say enough about it. But grilling on the 4th of July, Memorial Day, these types of days is great too - a great BBQ with friends and family is awesome. Pecan pie has become a favorite to make around Thanksgiving/Christmas as well. so many things...
My cooking triumphs
My first year entering a chili competition, I made a chili that scared the two-time champion. While I didn't place or even win, before the votes were cast, he said of all the chilis, mine was the one that made him nervous (and afterwards we traded leftovers because I actually loved his - ha ha). That in itself was a compliment because he is a GOOD cook! You may not consider it "cooking" but I for Christmas I made a manger scene out of chocolate and toasted coconut. (Also made extra pieces for eating, so the display could be up for a while). I was up until 2:30 a.m. finishing it (and nobody wanted to eat it - it turned out so well) but I was so proud of it. Not sure I'll do it again though...people were seriously afraid to eat the baby Jesus. Had to remind people it wasn't actually Jesus. :)
My cooking tragedies
Where to start...the ones that are most prominent are...Super Salty Beef Stroganoff - which was partly my fault & partly not my fault. My first time making it, the recipe listed had a typo in the meat rub. It asked for a teaspoon of pepper, a teaspoon of garlic and a 1/2 CUP OF SALT. I thought this was odd being you're putting lots of other very sodium-enchriched items in the recipe anyway (beef broth, mushroom soup, etc.) but the rest of the recipe seemed legitimate, so I trusted them. Given the money I spent on the quality beef, I tried to make myself eat and like that stuff...I got sores and my tongue and had to throw it away. Disaster. I also have gotten in trouble several times doubling recipes for desserts and forgetting this halfway through, then wondering why things aren't working out (or cooking quite right) afterwards. Disasters. :S