I am a wife, mom to three great children, and Nonnie to two beautiful boys. I have always loved to cook. Being recently retired lets me play around so much more in the kitchen, especially on week nights, which before was pretty difficult with our schedule. My husband of 36 years has spiffed up his skills and does a pretty darn good job, as well. We love to entertain and I love nothing more than seeing family and friends enjoy meals that I have prepared for them.
My favorite things to cook
Although I am 50/50 Italian/Irish, my Italian side has won out in the kitchen! Love to prepare regional Italian dishes, especially "cucina povere" - those peasant dishes which were born out of necessity when times were tough, but which now are popping up on restaurant menus with fancy price tags. We also love to find new ways with vegetables. I bake only under duress, as I detest being chained to measuring cups and spoons!
My favorite family cooking traditions
In the early years, my favorites were the birthdays - the birthday kid would get breakfast in bed, we'd all pile in and give gifts, and then in the evening I'd make a special request dinner, followed by cake and ice cream. Thanksgiving and Christmas are very food-centric for us, too. We always have a crowd for Thanksgiving dinner, and then our whole family (roughly 45 people) would come for dessert. Always fun and lots of laughter. For Christmas, we have a large breakfast and while the dinner's main dish may vary slightly (but always is beef!), we always begin with Pappa al Pomodori and Eggplant Parmigiana. Many happy memories!
My cooking triumphs
I believe I would have to say my "gravy" (as we Italian-Americans living in New England call it). I still get a little thrill when my Irish husband closes his eyes and says "this'd make a dead guy roll over and open his mouth!"
I also feel triumphant after a great dinner party with family and friends I love, sitting at the dining room table long after the meal is over, sharing wine and laughter.
My cooking tragedies
While nothing specific comes to mind, I know it would have to be one of my aforementioned baking episodes. Oh, and probably the 30 or so years that I couldn't even get the dogs in our family to eat my meat loaves! No matter WHAT I tried, I would get the same baleful looks from everyone when the "What's for dinner?" question was answered with "I'm trying a new meat loaf recipe and I really think you're gonna love this one!" . That was until I found Miss Paula Deen's BBQ meatloaf. Then everything changed....