I'm a 52 year old mother of 17 children (6 daughters & 11 sons), 4 sons living at home ages 17 to 8. Cooking & Baking are my favorite pasttimes, thank goodness, because with my large family, I have to do a lot of both. I'm also a full time student working toward a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice.
My favorite things to cook
Most of what I cook or bake is from scratch: Breads & rolls (Teddy Bear bread that looks just like one is a favorite of my children & grandchildren), burrito pie, beef & noodles, apple dumplings, Angel Food Surprise Cake, and Turtle Cheesecake baked in a springform pan that tastes just like the candy only better.
My favorite family cooking traditions
The boys all help my husband or me cook, 1 or 2 at a time. Because of how much cooking & baking we have to do for our large family, my husband & I take turns cooking a meal so I can get a break. (He used to own a restaurant and is a wonderful cook.) When we prepare large holiday meals, we all cook something that we enjoy including our 8 year old son.
My cooking triumphs
My greatest cooking triumph was creating my Teddy Bear Bread by adding details to it with additional bread dough and a drop of food coloring of the appropriate colors to the details(eyebrows, eyes, wire-rimmed glasses, nose, mouth, tongue, paw prints, shirt, & pants). My children & grandchildren really got a kick out of it and wanted us to preserve it rather than eat it. "This looks too nice to eat, Mom!" I can't say that I really blamed them. I made it just to see if I actually could bake Teddy Bear Bread with detail. Much to our amazement, I did and it turned out to be an artistic masterpiece. Another triumph was having several of my recipes published in a well-known cookbook.
My cooking tragedies
About 10 years ago, I was being harrassed by several of my children "Mom, he hit me" "Mom, he shoved me in the manure pit" "Mom, you gotta come outside to see the flock of bald eagles in the field", the phone kept ringing off the wall, I was in the process of baking a pumpkin pie. I forgot to add the pumpkin to the other ingredients. My children have never let me forget that.