I'm a freelance journalist and a stay-at-home dad. I became a member four years ago while searching for Thanksgiving recipes. My wife did most of the cooking that year. She made cream cheese corn, sausage, apple and cranberry stuffing, rosemary roasted turkey and praline sweet potatoes.
I immediately fell in love with the site and started using recipes to prepare meals for our Wednesday night Survivor parties. It was fun to shock our blue-collar friends with a little sophistication and some great bursts of flavor. We introduced dishes to them they'd never tried, and I learned just how great a meal can taste.
There was no turning back. Though I try to be a savvy consumer, I'm drawn to the best ingredients the grocery store offers. No more frozen dinners, fast food and pizza delivery. For less than $10, I can bake up a homemade pizza that will have you sobbing in tears of joy. I can make a cheeseburger as moist as meatloaf and filled with flavor. I'm hooked.
My favorite things to cook
Meat, meat, meat. Meat is a staple on our house. We build our meals around it. But we have limited interests. I'm not much of a seafood person, and I don't do well with meat still on the bone. It's a reminder that I don't care to have. So we do a lot of boneless chicken and steaks and lots of lean pork. It can be a little cumbersome to eat the same foods each week, but Allrecipes helps me avoid that. I can make 20 different meals with pork tenderloin, hundreds of meals with boneless chicken breast and even several dozen meals using ground beef.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mom was big on desserts, and I am, too. They're the one food that brings anticipation throughout the house. Everyone wants to know if the cookies are ready. The sweet smells waft through the rooms. Heads rise, feet shuffle. And, most importantly, tongues sing.
My cooking triumphs
My first shot at stir-fry had me on cloud nine. The best part of cooking is having the reward at the end.
My cooking tragedies
There's the bay leaves story. Early in my culinary education, I decided to load the seasoning on some homemade pizza (done with a pre-packaged crust, really). I got out the oregano and basil. Then I tossed a few bay leaves onto the crust. The wife wanted to know what was on it. She didn't look happy. I sort of had a funny feeling in my own stomach. I was reluctant to tell her. I thought I had done a great job. And it was delicious except for the two or three bay leaves each of us ate. Our tummies were a little upset. But I learned an important lesson.