I have been baking since my mum and grandma showed me when I was a little girl, but in college I taught myself to cook using the "Know Your Ingredients" section of the old Joy of Cooking -- and spent an entire summer cooking for my family. After a couple of weeks of trying new things every day, my mum gave me her credit card and said I should use it at the grocery store as long as she could come home to dinner already made, from scratch. I started organizing and preparing the food for my class theme parties in college (to serve 200 starving students at a time), and worked as a supervisor in the college kitchen. I have enjoyed catering ever since, especially because it allows for so much variety. How else can you make every recipe that looks good??
My favorite things to cook
Baking anything, making chocolate truffles, roasting chicken, making chili and soups from scratch. Basically any food prepared using FRESH ingredients! from the garden is the best...
My favorite family cooking traditions
Peeling and slicing apples for pie and crisp while chatting about nothing in particular, making cookies and candies for holidays, preparing Thanksgiving dinners.
My cooking triumphs
Easter brunch for several hundred people, served at 2am after Midnight Mass! Many Thanksgiving dinners with different friends and their families. Chocolate truffles. YUM. Oh, and making (mixing, rolling, cutting out...) twenty dozen bone-shaped garlic-flavored dog biscuits for a dog rescue fundraiser. People liked them too.
My cooking tragedies
Can't think of anything that was a total loss... though one time I started the huge (industrial-sized) mixer whipping a gallon of heavy cream and then forgot about it, and ended up with A LOT OF BUTTER! I used it for something though, so it didn't go to waste. Maybe cookies?