I’m a bad blogger. I didn’t post anything last week. It’s a lame excuse, but the truth is, I just got busy. I didn’t find the time to write, which sucks. The thing I did manage to do, however, was make dinner for my sister, my brother-in-law, and my husband to celebrate Tim’s birthday.
It’s a tradition in our family to make the birthday boy or girl’s favorite meal to celebrate their day. The problem is, that excluding my sister (Natalie) and her husband (Jack), everyone else in my family hates, and I mean HATES Tim’s favorite meal: Chicken Tika Masala. My dad lived in England for a little while as a young adult and got burnt out on curry, fair enough. And the rest of my family doesn’t like “spicy food,” which is a damn shame, because it’s divine.
We celebrated Tim’s birthday with the rest of the family separately. The four of us, however, broke naan and ate delicious curry. We drank a big ass bottle of Schramsberg (my favorite, as you know), ate cake and ice cream, played cards and laughed a whole lot. It was the kind of cozy night in, with a big bowl of food and good people, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside; and it got me thinking about why I love food so much.
How cool is it that food can not only nourish your body, but your soul? How amazing that food is a part of a person’s history, and a person’s future. How lucky are we that food is something that we can create memories around? Food brings people together, it becomes a conversation starter, and at least for me, I associate times of happiness around meals that I eat.
Several years back one of my uncles put together a cookbook full of Vella and Sbarra (my paternal grandmother’s maiden name) recipes. When it comes time to do some real Italian, soul cooking, I turn to this book. This book includes our family meatball recipe, stuffed squid, anchovy sauce…all the really good shit. Some recipes haven’t been made since my grandma passed away, and that just can’t be. I want my family food recipes to live on through the generations, so I’ve decided to cook my way through my family cookbook. Food and family are one in the same to me, and I think that will make my grandma Jo very proud.
Also, some of these recipes need some serious work. Me thinks a few of my relatives were sipping too much vermouth when they wrote “Put in Oven and Bake.” Ok, Uncle Nick, I get it…but for how long, and at what temp? Or my favorite recipe for our the Christmas Eel: “Peel Skin, put on pan, broil.”
So in the process of letting my grandmother’s cooking legacy live on, and making delicious food, I’ll also be giving the cookbook a much needed edit. I hope you’ll join me on my family food journey, and we’ll share some seriously good eats and some serious fun working out the Vella-vagueness of the recipes. Ciao!