A tomato plant in every yard and a twenty-quart saucepan in every kitchen. That’s the way it was growing up with four Sicilian grandparents, a mother, and a bunch of aunties and cousins who were all fabulous cooks. With six brothers, three sons, and now a grandson, this blog started as a way to record and share our family’s traditional recipes. It has since expanded into an exploration of where food comes from, from backyard kitchen gardens to commercial farms.
I first learned to cook in Home Ec with Mrs. Harriman at Dartmouth Middle School (MA) and on-the-job training (cooking and washing dishes) beside my dear relatives. A close friend jokes that I am never alone in the kitchen because of all the memories cooking with them evokes for me. With that in mind, here are some of the people whose names you will see over and over again in my stories.
My mom: Mary. Mother of six sons and one daughter, me. Every afternoon around two o’clock, she would start talking about what we were going to make for dinner. Veggies were her specialty and a daily trip to the farmstand was a must for her. Twenty years ago she painted the watercolor of a chicken that is now the logo for my blog. There wasn’t anything she couldn’t do! We had lots of fun together.
Mom’s mother: Marion, aka Grandma. Seen here on her Schwinn three-wheeler. I recently bought one of these bikes at a yard sale simply because it reminded me of her. She made the best meatballs and sauce, and everything else. She taught all the women in the family how to apply face cream, “gently, Darling.”
My great grandmother: Maria, aka Mamanika. Seen here with her Revereware sauce and soup pot that doubled as a mixing bowl for her legendary “S” and fig cookie dough. She loved to shock people. Her husband’s name was Papalouie. They filled a room.
Mom’s baby sister: Rachelle, aka Auntie. Grandma was 48 when she had her. Thus she is more big sister than aunt to me. We grew up as neighbors in the coastal community of Bay View in Massachusetts. She is shown here on Christmas Eve making the Sicilian Seven Fishes. Like Mamanika, she fills a room with love and joy.
Hubby: Kelly, aka Pop and The Biscuit King. He loves exploring the countryside and visiting farms with me and intuitively knows when to slow down for a good photo op. He claims it’s much better than turning back a few miles down the road. His logical approach to life tempers my emotional approach and vice versa. There is a reason he is known as The Rock to so many. To know him is to love him.
Texting while cooking.
I have loved my Italian heritage and look forward to passing on my passion for growing food, cooking, and bringing people together around the dinner table.
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