I started cooking as a teenager to take some stress off of my parents and to create delicious alternatives to our traditional, often unhealthy meals. It took off and became a great passion from there! Now my kitchen is stocked with the latest cooking gadgets, my pantry is stuffed with gourmet goodies and hearty staples, and my fridge always has something tasty waiting to be cooked up!
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook my mom's rice and beans (Puerto Rican style!) when I'm feeling homesick for my family. I suppose that's why traditional American comfort food is a second favorite of mine to cook; it's hearty, heart-warming, and always a social event.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Every dinner meal growing up was always served with rice and beans on the side, cooked in a myriad of different ways with different beans and spices. That's one of the main things I miss about living with my parents, who are several states away. We also always made holidays social cooking events, with everyone crammed into my mother's tiny kitchen trying to sneak pieces of meat or sips of unfinished gravies. My family spent every holiday together, even if it was one which we didn't necessarily celebrate in the "traditional" sense--it didn't matter; it was another excuse to be together and eat delicious food!
My cooking triumphs
The first time I made a souffle that didn't flop on me, I was so excited that I didn't even want to eat it! My first time cooking a big meal alone for my family was also very special. I can't even remember what I made but it must've been very simple. Even still, I had up until that point only been helping in the kitchen chopping, stirring, and doing basic prep work before my mother got home from work. My first meal 100% alone was a shock to me as much as it was to my family, but we all enjoyed it and I've since learned that there are no tougher critics than your relatives--if you can please them, you can please anyone!
My cooking tragedies
My first time cooking a NY strip steak was an utter failure and waste of meat. I might as well have been making jerky! I've since mastered medium-rare steak au poivre, one of my absolute favorite meals. I still cannot manage to make a decent gravy, however! Pan sauce, no problem! Gravy from a roast's drippings? Break out the can opener because it ain't happenin'.