I learned to cook at a very early age, from my dad, who was the 'family cook' growing up. My mom also cooked and I learned from her as well, but Dad was the most influential. When I married, I taught my wife to cook. Although her mom and grandma were great Hungarian cooks, they never took the time to teach her. The first 'meal' she made me was Lipton Chicken Noodle Soup in an electric percolator!! So together we learned all her family recipes and over our 30 years together raising a family of five, she became an excellent cook. After she passed away, I remarried a German-Hungarian woman, and learned many new recipes from her family. I now live alone with my 3 Huskies (who unfortunately did not learn any Siberian recipes!), and although I do not cook large meals like I used to, it is still my greatest pleasure, especially when on the rare occasions of family and friends visits. I also 'cook' daily, for my Sibe family!
My favorite things to cook
Italian, Asian (esp. Thai) Indian, Hungarian. Casseroles, stir-frys and soups. Far too many to cite specific meals.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I grew up in the post-depression era, so many of the 'special' meals we had, were actually very economical (cheap) concoctions, which I grew up thinking were very special, and I guess they are!
My Mom- Corned Beef & Cabbage
My Dad- Italian anything, 'Depression Specialties' like 'American Spaghetti', Smoked Butt & cabbage', Ground Beef & white sauce over toast'.
Her Mom- Noodles, pot-cheese & bacon, tarhanya, nukedly (sic), Chicken Paprikash
My cooking triumphs
Eggplant Napoleans, Seafood Lasagne, Thai Spaghetti Salad, Matar Paneer, 5-Mushroom Barley Soup
My cooking tragedies
1. Learning NOT to put plastic serving bowls on hot, glass top stoves! Very MESSY!
2. Early in my 'career' as a cook, I was taught to always use a tsp of sugar in recipes using canned tomatoes, to kill the acids in the sauce. After preparing a very large pot of Italian pasta sauce, I found I had no sugar available, so being the scientific type, I knew that 'soda' kills 'acid', so I added a tsp of baking soda to the pot. In an instant I had a Mount Vesuvius of pink spaghetti sauce, flowing all over the stove and kitchen floor! 'To soon old, too late smart'!
On the light side, when the eruption subsided, the little bit of 'pink sauce' left in the pot, was quite delicious!