It's funny how I can close my eyes and see Gram sitting in her kitchen. Almost every memory of her sitting at the table revolves around food. Not because you eat at a table, but because she sat there preparing meals for us. I realize how smart she was to do all this sitting down. Cooking the amount of food she made took so much time, so why not sit instead of standing? Oh believe me, I see her standing at the stove too, sometimes just to protect the food from being sampled before dinner! I can visualize her mixing the meat for meatballs and rolling them, or frying veal cutlets, too many to even count! There is nothing like eating a cutlet right from the frying pan. It makes my mouth water now, just thinking about it! She used an electric skillet filled with olive oil to make them and everyone in the house took a turn sitting with her, really just waiting for her to give us that sample cutlet. She had to make twice as many, just because we all had to sample one before dinner.
For the holidays she sat and rolled cookies...it seemed like for days, just so there would be enough for the whole family, friends and anyone else who came in contact during the season. I can see cookies spread over every surface, in some stage...either cooling, ready to be iced & sprinkled or soon to be packed for giving. After many days of baking to fill the quota necessary for our family, the house smelled wonderful. Who could ask for better memories?
Gram to us and Mama to my father and his 6 siblings, she took care of us all. Papa was a friend to all and especially to us grandkids. Always calm, I don't recall him ever yelling, but I am sure he did at some point, just not to us. A hard worker, he enjoyed his down time and kept us happy. I remember him finding simple joy in peeling apples and slicing them with his pocket knife, as we sat out on the porch. I sure miss those days. We had time to sit and enjoy.
Holidays were grand adventures, with so many people eating, talking & yelling, with more food than you can imagine and meals that always included pasta. I know other Italian families enjoy the same kind of memories...and I know I will keep as many of these memories alive in my family, even though it is long after Gram and Papa have left us. We will always remember them not only in our thoughts, but by preparing the same foods and by telling their stories.
I miss you Gram and Papa!