I used to work in a high-end vegetarian restaurant (I'm not vegetarian, but I don't eat a lot of meat out of habit). I love cooking with a wide variety of ingredients and being creative. However, right now I live on a small grad student stipend, so my grocery budget is tight. Also, I only cook for myself. The fun in this is planning menus that are diverse, yummy, and at least sort of healthy within these limitations. When I shop, I try to buy ingredients that I can utilize in multiple dishes over a two week period. Buying fresh fruits and veggies can get expensive, so I have to be selective and stick to a few things that are really versatile, like carrots and spinach. I like to do pasta bakes and quiches and the like; things that yield several servings so that I don't have to cook every single night, and have something that will last throughout the week. Probably the most useful basic recipe in my repertoire is simple white sauce.
My favorite things to cook
Pasta dishes, egg dishes, southwestern/Mexican dishes, vegetarian dishes, fruit pies...
My favorite family cooking traditions
My favorite recipes my Mom used to make:
Kielbasa with potatoes and sauerkraut, southwest chicken stew, green enchiladas, Chinese chicken salad, strawberry rhubarb pie
My cooking triumphs
Quiche; Italian sausage and spinach lasagna; Tortilla soup
My cooking tragedies
Wonton soup; prickly pear jelly