I'm from NY but I've lived in the area of Southern Italy called Salento for about 35 years and I have 4 sons, so how could I not spend a lot of time in the kitchen?
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook the local specialties when we have international guests but when we have Itlaians over, I usually prepare food they've probably never had. For example, Asian, Indian, Jewish dishes. My desserts are very popular too and half the town has some of my recipes.
My favorite family cooking traditions
I've mastered a multi cultural approach to cooking so we usually have a nice mix.
My cooking triumphs
For my husband's 40th surprise birthday party, I managed to cook everything myself, for about 50 guests, without giving the surprise away. It wasn't easy to whip up all that food without him noticing, but it was a great success.
I also often have Ethnic themed dinners for groups of friends who seem to appreciate them.
When my kids were little I used to make spectacular cakes, like airplanes and teddy bears, etc. Our Halloween parties were a big hit too, with coffin shaped cakes and the likes, especially since back then Halloween was a novelty in this part of the world. Anyway, when one of my sons got married I made the wedding cake using fondant icing to make sunflower decorations. It was quite nice and a little more special than a store bought cake.
My cooking tragedies
I recently had a pot luck buffet dinner for about 50 people. Since I usually cook up a storm even if everyone's supposed to bring something and then there's too much food, this time my friends brought just wine or dessert, mostly ice cream because we were smack in the middle of a heat wave. But because of the heat wave, I didn't cook as much as usual so in the end there wasn't much food. But we had 12 different desserts! How embarrassing.