I would consider myself a novice at best but I find the process of cooking to be amazing. I keep trying and I am slowly learning to make something that is edible.
My favorite things to cook
I enjoy BBQ, making soups, stews, and any variation of apple pie (yumm)
My cooking triumphs
About 4 years ago my family had no where to go for Thanksgiving due to health problems, age, etc of the family members who have cooked the traditional Thanksgiving dinner for decades. At that time I was a divorced single guy who ate mostly microwave meals and basically needed a recipe to boil water. I was not going to let my family go to a restaurant for Thanksgiving dinner so I decided to cook the dinner for everyone. It didnt turn out perfect, in fact there were lots of mistakes, but I am happy to say we all had a great dinner together and I have been doing it each year since then and it gets better each year. My Thanksgiving dinner is not like "Moms" but its good and the real bonus is getting the family together.
My cooking tragedies
Being a novice one problems I find is cooking directions generally are not clear and specific enough. For example I once tried to make beef stew in the crock pot with disasterous results. The recipe said to add one table spoon of corn starch at the end to thicken it up. I added one table spoon..nothing happened, added another tablespoon....nothing happened...added 1/4 cup.....nothing happened so I added another 1/4 cup and all of the sudden the stew set up like a sponge. It was just like a beef stew sponge and was of course inedible. I found out later that I should have mixed to corn starch with water and let it cook for a little to give it time to thicken up. Who knew?