My family used to joke that the only thing we did well together was cook. It may be true. While knife bearing Texans are perhaps almost as frightening as any group of people who take their right to bear arms seriously, give my family some knives and something to slice or chop and we had an instant detente. We became artists working together to create a masterpiece. And like all artists, sometimes our masterpieces were amazing. Other times not so much. The purple gravy, for example, was a bit of challenge to get down. I took this approach to cooking with me when I moved away from home. And I have to say, one of the gifts of graduate school is that I learned that a glass of wine could salvage all but the worst of my culinary creations.