I come from an almost cooking-free background; both my grandmothers don't cook or bake, my mom was single and working when I was school-age. However, she did her best to introduce me to kitchen skills, involving me as much as possible whenever she did have the time to cook.
My husband, on the contrary, comes from a solid family with strong cooking traditions, so eventually I found myself trying hard to qualify for a cooking wife. A stubborn, self-sufficient and er... creative (didn't find a word with an 's') person that I am, I was reluctant to wholly adopt my in-laws' cooking style, but kept trying to come up with my own recipes and traditions. So I ended up with a bunch of my own favs, and am still working to expand the list, which brougt me here.
That involves a lot of research, since Russia has seen way too many drastic changes for one century; many authentic cooking traditions have been lost and / or replaced with soviet-time innovations.
My favorite things to cook
Generally, I like to give my food as little treatment as possible. In's not that I'm lazy (which I am); I think it's much healthier that way. I like steaming, grilling and baking stuff: meat, vegetables, poultry, as well as desserts. I enjoy trying out dishes from foreign cuisines every now and then, and also browsing old cookbooks for something forgotten and authentic to adapt to my use.
My favorite family cooking traditions
Easter kulich and paskha are a sacred duty, so time-consuming and sooo rewarding. Winter holidays have a whole bouquet of tastes and fragrances that I try to recreate every year. And of course, a decorated birthday cake is what mom always did for me herself every year, and that's what I always do now.
My cooking triumphs
Have had a few modest successes, yes :) Plum pudding last Christmas was a great idea and impressed everyone around here big time.
My cooking tragedies
I was in a rush to make something nice for dinner, but ran out of defrosted butter. I tried to cut a lump of butter right off a deep-frozen pack, and almost cut my finger off. Frustrating, embarrassing, painful. Don't try this at home. Ever since, I forbid myself to cook in a hurry.