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My grandmother was born in Rivarolo Mantovano, a small village in the countryside near Mantua. When I was a kid, we used to go there (from Milan) to pick up pumpkins, in order to find the most delicious for our homemade tortelli.
Pumpkin-filled tortelli are a very ancient recipe from northern Italy, and a typical dinner for Christmas Eve in my family. My grandfather makes egg pasta on Christmas Eve morning or the day before. The filling, a mixture of pumpkin, amaretti biscuits, parmigiano cheese, mostarda, and nutmeg, is rather sweet than savory. We have them with butter and sage, but my father usually grills them in the oven with parmigiano on top, for some extra-flavour.
My Fave Memory with food involves my great grandmother, who was also my next door neighbor when I was growing up. I loved Saturday mornings when I’d see my grandma crossing our backyards, past her laundry hanging on the clothesline in the warm summer breeze and past the lilac bushes that separated our yards. She’d have a foil wrapped treasure for us of banana or zucchini bread, depending on whatever surplus she had in her kitchen. Or it would be a plate of blueberry muffins with farm fresh berries and sugar sprinkled on the top, still warm from the oven.
Sometimes I’d venture over to visit grandma in her tiny kitchen. She always had a treat to share with us. I particularly liked dipping sour blueberries into the hobnail glass sugar bowl, a little trick she taught me. We’d talk about her memories of growing up during the depression or share stories of our family. She was an amazing woman who liked to craft and keep her hands busy. She’d have her daughters look through the Sears catalog to pick out a dress and she’d whip it up, just by looking at the picture.
I can’t eat a slice of banana bread without thinking about her and the cherished times I had with her.
My kids and I had tea party everyday during pre-school age. On special occasions, we had our tea party before going to bed. My kids had milk with chocolate cookies and I had cup of tea or coffee. This is my “Fave Memory” with my kids.
FAVE MEMORY. I have always loved summer picnics, when we were packing special food and blankets and we were spending the day in the wild, ideally near a river. I have great memories of these picnics as a child, and how organised my step mom was. It didn't look as pretty as in my illustration though, but I like it that way now when I am the one organising a picnic with my family.
My FAVE MEMORY relates to travelling with my family through Europe while visiting relatives, and my 10 year old son had decided that each day was not complete unless he had had a gelato, which was fine with us too as the gelati were so delicious, especially in Spain and Italy. The gelati were presented so beautifully in Spain with fresh fruit and chocolates often placed alongside the colourful trays.
When I first met my husband, we were both working at a specialty grocer. He was a butcher, while I was working in the neighboring department as a cheesemonger. While food was always a big part of our relationship and our mutual love of cooking a common ground to build from, cheese and charcuterie boards were always held to a higher standard. Whenever any of our coworkers found out that we were dating, the first words out of their mouths were always “Awww meat and cheese, paired together just like a platter!” Whether it was our first grocery store shopping trip together to make a little snack plate for a date night in or the massive tabletop cheese board we created for the first Thanksgiving we hosted together, we’ve always tried to live up to our nickname. So it’s no surprise that when we got married two weeks ago, most of the gifts we received were centered around this theme. We were pretty thrilled to spend our honeymoon eating through the cooler full of cheeses and charcuterie we left our reception with!
When I was a child my yaya was my world. I loved spending time with her and she was always in the kitchen. My fondest memory with her is making a special dish from our Armenian culture called Manti. It is a labor intensive dumpling soup from the Caucasus. The dish is a staple amongst Armenian families and all of my friend's yaya's make it. To make Manti you make the dough from scratch, roll it out thinly then cut it into squares. Once your squares are ready you stuff them with a meat mixture and then pinch them together. Then this is either boiled or baked in the oven before it is put in a bowl and topped with yogurt, and depending on where you are from either a red pepper or butter sauce. My yaya and I would bond over this recipe, my role only being pinching together the dumplings while she made the rest of the soup. I wanted to create a illustration that showed the steps for this dish, specifically focusing on the part that I would help her with.
These potato rolls are my Grandmother Affie's. We made these on special occasions, including Thanksgiving and Christmas. As I got older, it was my responsibility to make them while my grandmother, mom, and aunts made everything else. I always liked making them into a clover shape because I thought they looked fancier that way. My mom also makes cinnamon rolls to share on Christmas morning out of this dough. These were always my favorite.
First time visiting an aquarium with our daughter, it's during our recent trip in Osaka. Greeted by a tunnel once entering. Enjoyed looking at variety of species available, magnificent views. We had a limited edition soft serve ice cream in the cafe. It's an unforgettable experience for us.
Fave Memory - When I was a child and I used to have lunch with my grandparents it was always a joyful day.
Every Sunday the family met all together. Before starting to eat my grandpa used to take a handful of cheese and let it fall on the dish of pasta, saying “it’s snowing!!!” A thin white layer appeared, and it started to melt due to the heat, just like snow. He used to repeat it every time, and every time I was enchanted by those flakes falling down softly.
One of my favorite food memory's is around savoring things from the garden...my mom and I use to experiment with canning, pickling, fermenting and drying a variety of goodness...fruit, veggies and herbs :)!
One day my sister and I came home from school to that overwhelmingly delicious scent of turkey cooking. Mom, however, explained that her friend Ina's oven had broken down. And since Ina had a thawed turkey that HAD to be cooked, Mom baked the turkey as a favor to her. ?!? Who knew Mom had such a sense of humor! She continued to surprise us with turkey off and on, but we didn't fall for the "It's for Ina" trick again. I never did discover her super secret turkey thawing station, though she finally spilled the beans to me last week!