For some reason, in May 2013, I thought that it would be a good idea to hold my phone over a hot stove and take this photo.

I didn’t grow up cooking at all. Aside from the occasional grilling session my dad took charge of, my mom did all of the cooking in our house when I was young. She was a remarkably ambitious cook, especially—as I would learn later—how intimated she could be in the kitchen. Her willingness to try new recipes still rubbed off on me and made me the humble cook that I am today.

I always have good luck in the kitchen. Of course, I have had plenty of failures in the kitchen, but more often than not I am able create something edible and delicious, even when attempting new techniques or using new ingredients. Cooking is something that I simply have a knack for. I can’t really explain it other than that. Aside from one pasta making class my wife and I took when we lived in Colorado, I don’t have any training at all. Nor do read much about cooking or watch any television shows on the subject. As pretentious as it is to say, I think that it is just that I have good taste.