What's on my menu? For starters, we have a young guy with an interest in cooking that stemmed largely from watching cooking shows on television. Gordon Ramsay and Martha Stewart are my icons, but I realize that there are countless other methods with merits and flaws -- I don't just follow two. I'm trying to start replacing all the fast-food in my life with more wholesome choices, although I've been actively experimenting with cookies and pies for a few years now. (Thanks, Martha!) I tend towards desserts, but I'm looking to break out of the oven and into the kitchen proper. I truly believe that cooking is functional art -- you get to express yourself and when you're done, there's a meal. Brilliant.
My favorite things to cook
Hands-down, it's cookies. Pumpkin cookies with butter icing may be my favorites, although it's kind of like you're asking a parent to choose their favorite child.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My dad is very strongly rooted in Italian cooking from my grandmother. My stepmother is probably where I picked up my baking bug -- I have a fond memory of baking about 2,000,000 bagels from scratch once. Well, at least it seemed like that many.
My cooking triumphs
My first chocolate pie from scratch. Not from a Jell-O box, but actually making a custard. I love dessert baking, but it really FEELS like cooking when you add melted chocolate and eggs and other ingredients and end up with something so magic and simple as a pie. It's elegant chemistry, and it happens every day under our noses.
My cooking tragedies
I spilled granulated sugar all over the floor of my parents' kitchen in high school making cookies... and I mean A LOT of sugar. I assumed that a mop or broom would only make it worse, so our bagless upright vacuum was impressed into service as a sugar-collector. As it turns out, the sugar crystals were finer than the filter on the vacuum, so it blew sugar EVERYWHERE like a cotton candy sandstorm. Everything was sticky for days. I actually cried. Looking back, it was hilarious... but at the time I felt devastated.
P.S. - The cookies all burned. It was a dark day.