I'm young, but I've been around the block a few times. I have a lot of crazy family members and have lived in some weird places; all of this comes out in my cooking. I've picked up some tricks from my Japanese host mom(s) and learned the secrets of a Lithuanian kitchen.
My favorite things to cook
I mostly cook ethnically. I prefer authentic recipes from around the world. I make really awesome spanikopita, pierogi, Japanese-style curry, tacos, felafel. Sometimes I'm okay with down-home American mutt food. S'all good.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My oldest sister is a French chef (having graduated from the French Culinary Institute of Manhattan). She's currently head pastry chef for the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur. I'm proud of her talent and accomplishments, and a lot of my own cooking has been influenced by hers. Even though she's trained formally in the French tradition, she has her own style that has made mine what it is in a lot of ways.
My paternal great grandmother and great grandfather were from Lithuania and Poland respectively. I can make a MEAN galumpkis.
Much of my mom's side of the family are a bunch of nutcases descendant from Italian/French royalty. A lot of them live in Rhode Island and as a kid used to have me dig up steamers for them to eat right on the beach. They're obsessed, like most of the people in this state, with edible bivalves.
My cooking triumphs
At seventeen I pretty much single-handedly prepared Thanksgiving dinner. It was actually pretty good. I can make anything I set my mind to, and make it well.
My cooking tragedies
My cooking tragedy is Rachael Ray.