Some of you have read Part One. Look in older posts or in Archives to retrieve it. I go into a detailed description of my grandmother and you will understand the context better. I am delivering installments of Part 2 over the next several days. I hope you enjoy reading it, maybe smile and relive some of your own nostalgic moments in the kitchen or new history you are making.
Part 2 – Chapter 1:
I came down the stairs and smelled Italian tomato meat sauce wafting through the air. It lured me into the kitchen like a Pied Piper flute. Embellishing the sauce, my mom added and stirred in oregano, salt and red wine.
“Can I taste?” I pleaded.
“Not yet” she replied sharply, turning her head and giving me an “ I know what you are up to” look.
“Can I stir, then?” I pestered, using a different tactic.
“Ok. But don’t eat any yet. The flavors have to meld all day and if you start tasting now, there won’t be any left for the talllarines (noodles). ”
She was right. My sister and I used to sneak into the kitchen all day and dip pieces of ripped off bread from a fresh Italian loaf and scrape what would stick to the sides of the pot as it condensed over hours of simmering. Occasionally, we ducked the stolen morsel right into the sauce. By the time dinner rolled around, more than half the sauce and all of the bread had just about disappeared thanks to our constant pilfering and “tasting.”
Growing up on Long Island, in New York state, I remember processed, packaged, frozen, boxed “food” just starting to appear and appeal to moms and growing families. Prepared meals were widely distributed and marketed to housewives. Every family on our horseshoe – shaped block had one car, one garage, one driveway, and most mothers didn’t even know how to drive. We waited for my dad to come home from work to shop in the local supermarket or went on weekends. My mom staunchly believed in green produce and home – cooked meals. My father insisted on it. We sat at the octagonal dining table, never answered the door or phone during dinner and ate punctually five minutes after my dad came through the door of our house from his job as a design engineer.