I've been cooking since I was about 12 years old and have always loved experimenting with new recipes. I would read cookbooks while I ate and start planning to try something different.
30 years have passed and not much has changed except that I don't really have that much time to cook anymore. When I do cook, I still like to try a lot of new things and get 95% of my new recipes from this site.
My favorite things to cook
Nowadays, my favorite things to cook are anything quick and easy that my family will eat. My daughters are not too picky but they don't always like the same things. Personally, I'm a Pesco-Vegetarian (I eat fish but no other animal protein), so we end up cooking a lot of fish since everyone will eat it. Too bad it's so expensive!
My favorite family cooking traditions
I used to make about 20 batches of different cookies for Christmas Eve. I'd start about a week before and not leave my kitchen all that week. The whole kitchen would get covered with flour and sugar, but I'd just give a quick sweep at the end of the day and start again the next day until I had enough to bring to church and then to family Christmas Eve where we'd open the presents. Then we'd leave the remainder out for "Santa" who was bringing special presents in the morning.
My girls are almost grown now and I'm no longer a stay-at-home Mom, so I don't have this tradition anymore. Maybe someday I'll be a retired Grandma and can bring it back!
I still make the Thanksgiving turkey each year though with homemade bread stuffing and gravy. Ironically, I don't eat it, although I admit that I taste some of the stuffing.
My cooking triumphs
Anything I've made completely from scratch that turned out great has been a triumph. I used to always make spaghetti sauce and soup from scratch and they were always wonderful. They're not too labor-intensive, so I still make them sometimes. There is nothing in the world so good as lasagna made with homemade sauce.
My cooking tragedies
When I was about 19, I made homemade spaetzle for my future in-laws. I had a very cheap non-stick pot and some of the coating (I guess) boiled into the spaetzle. They were grey inside and had this horrible metallic taste, but I made the mistake of not tasting one first and actually served them. It was a very embarrassing moment at the table when everyone bit into one and no one wanted to say anything to spare my feelings, but I knew they were bad and possibly even dangerous to eat. I threw out the pot that day and still shy away from using non-stick except for certain things. I learned my lesson that day that it doesn't pay to buy low quality tools for the kitchen.