I've been cooking since I was 11. Helping my mom in the kitchen, she taught me her style of Southern cooking. Of course there were many family staples, not necessarily Southern, like chili and meatloaf. But I really learned at her elbow, paid attention, then turned her recipes into my own. I've been completely vegetarian for 11 years now, and I'm diabetic. So the challenge is to cook with that in mind.
My favorite things to cook
I love the old standby's: Chili, Spanish Rice, Meat Loaf, Bisquits and Gravy. I think I may be related to Paula Deen because I love butter and love to deep fry.. I recently got interested in Indian Cuisine. I visit Manjula's Kitchen website often. And I love Bal Arneson at Food Network. I also like to cook Italian, Mexican and of course, Southern! Pass those blackeyed peas and greens! And I really do love Tofu. No, really!
My favorite family cooking traditions
At our house, my partner makes a "Smoked Turkey Bake" for the holidays. We usually have it both Thanksgiving and Christmas. When we have both been working long hours, we go for comfort food: either Mac and Cheese or Bisquits and Gravy. We're both voracious when it comes to learning new recipes and new techniques. A ton of good cookbooks and a subscription to Vegetarian Times really helps!
My cooking triumphs
Probably the very best thing I make is my Lasagne. I now make it vegetarian of course. But when I'm done, the pan weighs about 10 pounds. Everyone loves it. With all the great meat replacements out there, you'd never know it's vegetarian. Also, my partner makes a great falafel taco filling. I make the shells the way my mom taught me-deep fried and crispy! We're often asked to make this for our friends birthday parties and such.
My cooking tragedies
Well I just hate it (don't you?) when think you've followed the recipe exactly only to have it turn out like pet food and not at all like the picture. I've tried some things in the past that were truly awful. But that's how we learn. I'm a "bit of this, dash of that" kind of cook and real recipes are hard for me. But I have learned to get my ingredients organized first so I'll notice if something is missing.