I can't remember when I wasn't cooking. In high school I started experimenting with recipes, & haven't stopped yet. In my 39 years of marriage, I've cooked for family & friends, and a college rugby team. The joy of discovering a new recipe that blows the crowd away, or the excitement of creating something delicious from a 'thought' is always the inspiration.
The most inspired gift I ever gave, was a recipe book I made for my son for his 21st birthday. So many of his favorites were recipes I'd never written down so for a year I carefully measured & wrote down everything. The final typed pages of 'home cookin' and advice were put in a photo scrapbook that he uses and shows off to the gals. He's become an exceptional cook himself!
My favorite things to cook
Favorites here vary by season. In the winter it's comfort food of any kind; chili, soups, meatloaf, and Italian anything. The rest of the year, I challenge my husband to do the cooking on the grill and it's FRESH, FRESH anything and lots of seafood and chicken.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Thanksgiving is the best. For 25 years my family has shared the holiday with very close friends in places ranging from our own kitchens to mountain & beach resort condo kitchens; some of those were so small that we had to ban the husbands from crossing onto the tiled floor even to get ice! But we always managed to have fun, turn out fantastic meals, and create cherished memories for everyone.
My cooking triumphs
The top vote would probably go to my shrimp lasagna (our generation) or my chicken spaghetti (according to my son and his friends). Both started as experiments that totally exceeded all expectations.
My cooking tragedies
The worst has to be a batch of chili that I made from a recipe in the newspaper. It had real possibilities, but I grabbed the cayenne pepper instead of the mild chili powder - - - nothing else needs to be said.