PBS cooking shows and Sesame Street were two of my favorite things to watch on TV growing up. In hindsight, it's probably not appropriate to cite Jeff Smith of the Frugal Gourmet as one of my primary cooking influences but there you are. The person may have turned out to be horrible, but the message was still good. Use what you have and appreciate the simple things.
My favorite things to cook
I like to cook anything that looks like a tasty challenge. By that, I mean that sometimes I'll deliberately not fill the pantry to play solo Iron Chef. Inevitably, friends will come over looking for food and I'll have to whip something up using just what I've got. I created my famous chicken tortilla soup this way and it saved Thanksgiving one year.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Believe it or not, pizza. Some of my best memories revolve around being in North Carolina with my mom, her three sisters, and other assorted relatives cavorting. Christmas Eve was always dedicated to the best "doctored" pizza ever created.
My cooking triumphs
Chicken Tortilla Soup hands down. I make a really good barbecue sauce though I couldn't tell you how it's done; not too sure myself. Over the years I've mastered chicken fried steak and the perfect garlic roasted mashed potatoes. What I'm really proud of though is that I can finally make gravy.
My cooking tragedies
Too many to count, although the charred on the outside, raw on the inside kebabs coated in an inch of cayenne rank up there. We were camping, it was dark, and after dinner my boyfriend at the time forgot to wash his hands after spicing and before going to the bushes. You could hear the agony from half a mile off.