I was born into a plain old white american, 'casserole-making', no tradition family. So naturally, I can make a nice casserole, but I married into a difficult to BREAK INTO, highly traditioned, incredible food cooking, Italian family.
My favorite things to cook
Spaghetti (slow cooked with country style pork ribs) Homemade Italian sausage, Pan Fried potatoes, and home cured Italian olives.
Clam spaghetti with mushrooms, & garbonzo bean salad
Homemade Meat & Cheese Ravioli & Stuffed shells
My favorite family cooking traditions
My husband enjoys all of the Great Italian cooking traditions. He is not a cook, but being Italian means that everyone helps in the process. He & his brother, cousins, and Grandpa will get together for 2 solid days making homemade Italian Sausage. It is quite the process.
At Christmas-time, in past years, Nani (Grandma) & a house full will get together and make 'ravs', 'cause what would Christmas be without them? I am the only Grand-daughter-in-law who has shown an interest in the traditions, so I am 'told' when to show up for the preparations. (If you have an Italian family, you will understand being 'told' vs. being asked)
My cooking triumphs
When my husband & I first married, I was introduced to Scaleda. It's a fried Italian cookie that is light & crisp, with a honey glaze.
I asked Nani for the recipe and she replied, "It's very hard, four steps, you wouldn't be able to make them."
Through the years, I continued to ask, each time, the same reply..."Very hard, Four steps, you wouldn't be able to do it".
But I persisted. Finally, when she felt I was worthy, and had shown enough talent (and I wouldn't sabbotage the recipe) she turned this recipe over. But first, making sure to add the final jab. "It's very hard"
With the recipe in my hot little hands, the husband & I arrive home late, put the kids to bed, and got to work! Nine o'clock at night was probably not the time to start a recipe such as this.
SEVERAL HOURS LATER, we had completed the rolling, cutting, & frying. We had to go to bed...the honey had to wait. It's such a large recipe, I think they cook for the Italian ARMY! Sheesh.
My cooking tragedies
My Cooking Triumphs (continued):
The next day...late...that honey takes more time than I thought. I'm wishing, at this point, that I had just kept my mouth shut.
They turn out beautifully. We bring them over to Nani for approval. Grandpa secretly tells me that mine are better than Nani's . I HAVE ARRIVED!!!
Nani says, in her disapproving tone, "They're good. I'll need several dozen for Christmas."
Hrmphh! Definately a cooking triumph, but now I'm 'the scaleda gal', and I'm not sure I want to be. I do love making them, I just wish I had more time.
My cooking tragedies:
Did you know that spaghetti isn't made from a seasoning packet and a can of tomato paste mixed with ground beef?
I do NOW...how embarrassing.