The thread of Favorites Birthday Recipes, brought to my mind cooking new recipes when I was a teen. My mother and grandmothers were good cooks but never cooked from written recipes, never cooked anything "new." Many of us on this site seem to continually look for new recipes, keep wanting to improve.
Once, I made nice and creamy Swedish meatballs and my grandfather kept exclaiming how delicious they were (he was NOT trying to flatter me!) and my grandmother was upset, kept telling him to stop smacking his lips so loudly while eating! This really made me laugh. I was terribly pleased that I cooked something new that he really enjoyed. Cooking for people you love is a great, terribly personal gift. Labor of love, I guess.
I wish they were still around to enjoy my cooking.
Also, you can really learn from the disasters. One Thanksgiving I was transferring the turkey juice from the disposable aluminum pan (yes! you can see where this is heading!) to a bowl and the pan folded up and poured hot turkey fat/juice all over my sandal wearing feet and hardwood floor! It's a miracle my feet and floor survived but it was very sad to have no gravy for the meal. So, I learned never to use that for cooking a turkey (I bought a proper roasting pan) but I do use one to store the turkey in in the refrigerator.