Food and cooking found their place in my heart at an early age – actually I’ve been cooking most of my life. As a young girl, my job in the family was to help my Nonna (grandmother) learn English and the Constitution so she could become a U.S. citizen. After school, I would join Nonna in her small kitchen to review her lessons. She would greet me at the back door with an outpouring of love and affection…always in Italian laced with a bit of broken English. Somehow, I knew exactly what she was trying to say.
Mastering the Basics
While I sat at the small wooden kitchen table quizzing Nonna on her lessons, she was at the stove stirring a tasty batch of something for the evening meal. From her I learned the basics of Italian cooking: tomato sauce, soup, meatballs, polenta and chicken. On special days I watched and often tried my hand at homemade pasta. Nonna’s drying rack for the fresh pasta was a clean sheet laid over her big double bed. Here I would carefully lay the long strips of hand-rolled pasta to dry. What a sense of accomplishment I felt when Nonna and I later served “our” creations to the family!
Sharing My Grandmother’s Legacy
My cooking lessons seem like just yesterday. I can still hear Nonna stumble through the correct pronunciation of Eisenhower, but be very clear on her instructions for a properly seasoned tomato sauce. To the delight of our family, Nonna became a U.S. citizen. And, here I am, decades later, a Nonna myself, still enjoying the benefits of those early cooking lessons.
I hope to see you in a Good Eats online class soon! Until then, wishing you buona mangia,