When I was in 6th grade, my mom had surgery that kept her in bed for 8 weeks. She wrote six recipes on index cards for me to do the cooking for the family (of 6!) While babysitting for my (Greek) neighbor, she asked me what I planned to cook when I got home: I showed her mom's spaghetti recipe, featuring tomato soup! She handed me a bag of herbs, and I got hooked on cooking after that. Mom's food was really awful, but it's what I grew up eating: now I don't want to waste a single calorie to mediocre food!
My favorite things to cook
Too tough to answer! I have lots of favorites---from main courses to sweets and treats. I grow herbs and vegetables, as well as perennial blackberries and asparagus---so I also do a lot of canning, preserving and jelly-making. I really enjoy creating new flavors, like my "famous" Pomegranate Hatch Jelly. Much more intense than Raspberry Chipotle!
My favorite family cooking traditions
THANKSGIVING!! Since my Mom really hated cooking, I started doing the Thanksgiving meal when I was quite young. Today, we generally have 25-30 people---lots of family and lots of friends. The more the merrier!! I start on broth two months ahead of time...and regularly teach people how to make STRESS FREE GRAVY!
My cooking triumphs
Mmm...flourless chocolate cake. My "Wicked Patch" jelly (pomegranate hatch chili combination), as well as a cranberry jalapeno chutney that I make for Thanksgiving.
My cooking tragedies
I once tried to use a downdraft as a smoker...heat built up, melted the grates. Big mistake---I removed the makeshift cover and the flames lept up five feet, setting off the alarm, and calling the fire department. I had four (good-looking) firemen show up at my front door to advise me that I had burned dinner. Thanks,guys!