Being an only child, my mom has always been much more than just a mom to me. She's also my best friend. Sure, there were plenty of times when—as a parent—she dropped the iron hammer, but we've always had a closeness that was more like friendship.
Growing up she obviously taught me a lot of very important things: work hard, make good choices, and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. But when it comes to cooking, the most important thing she instilled in me was small: Keep an organized work station, and clean up as you go.