Although this was not always the case, I LOVE to cook! To me cooking is a good way to express your creativity. For this reason I rarely follow recipes exactly. I know many people frown on changing someone's recipe but we all know what we like and if you can tweak something according to your own taste and have it be a success, then why not? Basically I look at recipes as a "guideline" on which to build.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake just about anything. Also love to grill in the summertime especially but have been known to stand out in freezing temperatures, ankle-deep in snow at the grill! Recently I have also rediscovered my slow cooker.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I don't know that I have a specific family cooking tradition but I just have to say that my mom is, hands-down, the best cook on the planet! Don't we all feel that way about our moms? But I swear, I can use the same recipe and mine never tastes quite as good as hers. I do remember her saying the same thing about my grandmother and recently, my own daughter has said that about me so maybe THAT is our family tradition!
My cooking triumphs
I've had some wonderful successes but I think my biggest triumph is learning that homemade is ALWAYS better than store-bought. For this reason I have started making everything from my own bread, rolls and hamburger buns to making my own pancake syrup and taco seasoning as well as making my own vanilla extract!. It's just so rewarding, tasty and usually much healthier to make it from scratch.
My cooking tragedies
I think we all have things that just don't turn out quite right but for me the most frustrating thing is trying to bake cakes and cookies. They are always overdone or underdone. I have figured out however that (don't laugh) my oven is possessed! It cooks unevenly and I swear, one time it cooks too hot and the next time it may not cook hot enough. I never know what temperature to set it on or how long to cook something for. Normally it does ok for just about everything but for cakes and cookies, where the temp and cooking time need to be precise, it's a disaster!