My cooking triumphs
After whipping up an Italian Wedding Cake for a bake-off, I was told by an Italian woman I worked with that it was exactly like the best ones she'd had in Italy. I've never been to Italy, am not of Italian heritage, and didn't even know it was a recipe actually made at weddings, so this was high praise!
My cooking tragedies
As I was learning to cook I foisted some pretty horrific things on my brother's family, with whom I was living at the time. Probably the worst, however, was my attempt to make pastitsio with traditional Greek spices but with ground turkey instead of lamb or beef. The turkey couldn't stand up to the cinnamon and nutmeg the way a stronger meat could. To our American tastes it was seasoned like a spicy cookie or cake, only with meat, pasta, and cheese in it. Yuck!