When I was a little girl, our maid cooked for us. She learned from my mother, who's an awesome cook. When I became older & moved to Canada, my mother stayed home full-time & began to cook all our meals.
Even though my mother cooked mostly Chinese food, we grew to love other foods, like Japanese and Italian. My mother was an avid Chinese food explorer however. As such, growing up, I was exposed to new & exciting Chinese dishes, but few of other kinds of foods.
As I became older, my friends' mothers would bake a wide variety of delicious baked goods but our oven remained unused. I decided if I want baked goods, I'll have to learn on my own. From there, my culinary career began. I started with baked goods like cookies and muffins & moved onto cakes & pies.
It wasn't until my parents moved away that I began to cook main dishes. Now that I'm married, I am eager to practise family recipes & explore new recipes. My husband is ready & keeping an open-mind (and stomach!) and so am I.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Every Christmas, instead of making turkey, my mother would create several staple dishes: green onion and ginger crab, scallop, shrimp and cheese stuffed lobster, steamed fish, and steak. Not all at once of course, but over the course of 2-3 days. Since we came from a coastal city of Hong Kong, we are used to and love seafood. For us, eating crab, lobster, fish, and shrimp is normal. Once we came to Canada however, we fell in love with steaks, especially since it was so much cheaper here than in Hong Kong!
My cooking triumphs
When my father told me my congee was better than mother's.
When my dumpling's skin is silkier, thinner and smoother than my grandpa's.
When my pan/deep fried chicken steak/shrimp is preferred over mother's.
When my baked goods are craved by my mother.
My cooking tragedies
When I made curry yam balls and the yam balls were so horrible, I had to throw them away. My husband was trying to be nice by eating them, I finally had to wrestle them away from him to throw them out.
When I made cheesy mac-and-cheese and used incorrect amount of cheese, which totally ruined the dish and I had to throw it out.
When I made sweet and sour pork (a lot of work!) and I added too much salt to my pork.