Ever since I was a little girl I was fascinated with my Grandma Rizzo while she cooked. It was like a well choreographed ballet of sorts. Family members could show up unannounced and she was always able to make a meal with plenty of food to go around the table several times with what seemed like little effort on her part.
The smells that would fill the house made you hungry even if you had just eaten. I can smell her pot of gravy (spaghetti sauce) simmering on the stove as I type these words. Oregano, garlic, basil, olive oil all the aromas of an Italian meal always filled the air in my grandmother’s home.
In my late teens my grandma FINALLY included me in on her recipes while she cooked. A pinch of this, a pinch and a half of that, nothing was ever measured with a measuring spoon or cup yet it tasted the same each and every time.
By the time I was in my mid twenties I started paying more attention to what she was doing in the kitchen. I followed her around with a pen and paper writing down our family recipes that only existed in her head. Since everyone’s pinch is different the written down recipes were like a secret code and extra special because I was one of the few people in the world who knew exactly how much her pinch was supposed to be. To the rest of the world it was a mystery they would never know so the recipe couldn’t be repeated.
In my grandma’s kitchen I learned more than how to cook I learned how to be a lady as we discussed how a lady should act. I grew into a woman the last time I was in her kitchen. Her words of wisdom helped mold me into the lady and mother I am today.
I have kept this tradition alive with my own daughters beginning from a very young age. They would watch me cook with the same adoring eyes I watched my grandmother with. I have never measured a thing from her recipes with a measuring spoon or cup and for many years now I have cooked them without a recipe in front of me for I also have them locked into my memory.
Every time I smell the pot of gravy simmering on the stove it takes me back to my younger years; back into my grandma’s kitchen where the number one ingredient that made all of her food taste so amazing…that ingredient was love!
©2014 Lysa Wilds
©2014 Lysa Wilds