I love to merge recipes. I'll consult 3 or more cookbooks (Joy is always on the table) before even gathering ingredients. I adore Maida Heatter for her techniques and approach, Julia Child for her wonderful influence on the home chefs, and foodtv for endless information and ideas.
My favorite things to cook
Love to bake. It forces me to follow techniques and recipes. Love to make savory dishes freestyle. I love to make food that is pretty and people can't resist. (Dieters beware.)
My favorite family cooking traditions
Pretty much it's all about getting stuffed. I like to make myself scarce during meal preparation because the family elders INSIST on polishing silver and using the "don't break my china" china. I'm there for the food and not the pre-cleanup?!?!?!
My cooking triumphs
Removing my fear of making yeast breads, I get that mountain out of a mole hill feeling with yeast breads when I should just dive head first. Reading the whole recipe has been a long lived lesson no matter what it is.
My cooking tragedies
Well, it goes back to not thoroughly reading recipes before beginning. When a recipe states don't double it, really, they mean it! Many years ago working in a restaurant, I managed to slightly burn the pastry cream at 3am for a huge mothers day crowd. It had a toasted marshmellow flavor going on...it was too late to make new cream, we made sure to use plenty of chocolate on top.