My father was the cook in my Italian family and he never wrote a recipe down or used any measuring devices when cooking. Imagine my horror when I asked for the recipes and he told me he didn't have any. He did everything from memory.
I used to watch him cook and try to convert his handful of this, a couple of splashs of that, into measureable units but never could. I learned by trial and error and I cook the same way now making all those favorites of yesteryear that I grew up with which have become the staples in my family.
Thankfully, I inherited my Aunts recipe box, which held all of the special Italian pastries that my father made, still laughing at those recipes that say "as much flour as needed". I still, to this day, carry on the tradition of my grandmothers/fathers cooking and baking.
I love trying new recipes but I always will have my favorites.
I have engaged my young son in sharing the kitchen with me and he now shares his love of cooking, as I did with my father.
My favorite things to cook
I love to bake and make candies. That has to be my favorite thing to do.
I am famous for my Coconut Cream Easter Eggs and they are requested throughout the year but I refuse to make them at any other time, in spite of the begging. (I've been told that mine are better than Zitner's...LOL)
So, come spring, I find myself making hundreds of them for family and friends.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My 7 fish Italian Christmas Eve Dinner. My father always hosted the 24th with our family and I have definitely carried on that tradition. Over the years, the family has grown, so just the immediate family comes over for Christmas Eve now. For the past 5 years we started a new one. On Christmas Day, 30 plus are in attendance for a fantastic homemade breakfast buffet, hosted by my younger brother who lives next door to me, to all other family members and you must come wearing Christmas Pajamas.
We always do a toast to all our relatives that have passed and thank them for watching over us and allowing us to remain such a close family.
Christmas time is Pizzelles, Zeppoli's, Biscotti's and loads of cookies.
Easter....Italian cheese cake, Easter Bread, Ham Pies and Coconut Cream Easter Egg.
My cooking triumphs
The day that I finally was able to reproduce my fathers meatballs and gravy(spaghetti sauce}.
My cooking tragedies
It took me 7 months after my father passed away to reproduce his meatballs. Since he always made them for me, I never bothered to make them.
They were good, don't get me wrong, but I wanted them just like my dad's. Finally....I got it.