I'm male, 40ish, married, and currently living in Birmingham, AL. Born in Louisiana, Cajun by birth. My wife is from Alabama. I've worked for bakeries in New Orleans and Lafayette, and flipped burgers and slung pizza at chain joints. That's the extent of my my professional cooking experience. People say I should go to culinary school and become a chef. But then I would have to cook. It wouldn't be fun or entertaining anymore.
I grew up learning to cook at my grandmother's knee, but I'm still trying to figure out my one Italian aunt's tomato sauce.
I'm a lifelong foodie, and a recovering alcoholic, so wine and spirits don't make it into the house, but I've learned to work around it.
I am a big fan of comfort food. Mine are mac and cheese, chicken and sausage gumbo, anything that's freshly baked, and grilled cheese sandwiches. Carbs? check. Fat? check. Salt? check.
My wife hates that I watch Food Network so much. I rank Alton Brown up there with the best of them. I like the science and history of food. I also like the creativity of Jacques Torres. And the simplicity of Sara Moulton's cooking. Bobby Flay used to make my skin crawl, and Emeril grates on my nerves.
It's all about the basics.
Learn to make one kind of bread really well, then expand on it. I'm up to king cakes.
Learn to make one kind of stock, then build from there. I'm good at seafood and I cheat at chicken.
Learn to make caramel, then expand into candy. I do microwave peanut brittle.
Learn to make one kind of cookie, then experiment. I started with the Toll House recipe on the bag. I'm up to the checkerboard ones.
Learn the flavor of a different seasoning or herb once a month, at least. Then master controlling it.
Eat something you normally wouldn't once a month. You'll surprise yourself. (This coming from a Cajun)
I get into arguments about hot sauces. I can wax poetic on the history of Cajun cuisine. I try to taste everything, but I respect my limits. I believe in the existence of good fast food, and I am still looking for it. I'm picky about coffee and rice. I hate food that is oversalted, but I also hate food that is undersalted. No other flavor level matters as much as salt.
My other passion is music. Everything from Emimem to Hank Williams to Pachelbel. I used to be a DJ, and dust off the equipment once in a while for Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) conventions.