November 21, 2010

A Fave Food Memory: Pasta Making

Thank you to everyone who posted one of their favorite food memories so far for my FIRST GIVEAWAY!!

It ends tomorrow, so you still have a chance to enter!

I thought I’d share one of my many favorite food memories with you while we are on the subject! Over a month ago, I was in my grandmother’s kitchen learning how to make pasta from scratch. She was moving back to New York, so I had to quickly make plans to see her before she left. I had such a wonderful time and learned A LOT in the process. If I hadn’t come up with my 31 comes before 32 list, it might not have happened. So, hooray for motivating lists!

When I walked into my grandmother’s kitchen, she had everything set up for us to make pasta!  I could tell that she was a bit stressed by the move, but our time together was a welcome relief for her. In the back of my mind, I knew it could be the last time we cooked together (at least for awhile) so I soaked it all in and appreciated every second of the experience. I also snapped as many pictures as I could! She went to use her hand mixer, and I pushed it aside and told her that I wanted to use my own hands. I wanted to feel the dough and see what it took to make it. She looked up at me proudly and patted me on the back. That was my favorite moment.

pastamaking (16)

I left her house with two trays full of big fat scrumptious cheese raviolis, a few stories of her younger days, as well as THEE pasta/polenta board her father made her over 30 years ago. I am truly blessed. It’s a big deal that I have it now.

What I have taken away from the experience is that putting in the effort to make things from scratch REALLY makes a difference.  When you make something by hand– with love, it shows.  My grandmother has always inspired me to grow my arsenal of cooking techniques. She taught me to pay attention to what I eat and figure out what’s in it and how I can replicate it at home. She has always made things from scratch, even when her hands began to fail her and for that I am thankful.

When I talk to my dad about his favorite food memories, he beams. He always goes back to the time when my grandma made a ridiculously HUGE batch of potato gnocchi. There were soo many of them that she had to use every available surface in the house to set them.  Their beds were covered! I love that story just as much as I love seeing his face when he tells it.

Food memories are sacred; especially when they reference the love that someone put forth to create them. So if you keep that in mind when you are cooking for others, I’m pretty sure it will help your cooking! You are not just making food, you are making a memory. Even if you burn the chicken, it’s a memory!!

I’ll post our “pasta recipe” soon! I just need to figure out what my handwriting says!

Oh and btw, we can cross these two things off the list now!

26. Learn a recipe from my grandma.

27. Make pasta from scratch. (maybe with my grandma?)

  • Lisa

    Congratulations on crossing off two things from the list! I really enjoyed this post, and I think my favorite part is when you decided to use your hands and your grandma patted you on the back. So sweet! ; )

  • jessica

    this seriously made me cry! beautiful writing and pictures. one of my biggest regrets in life was that i never got to really cook with my grandma. thank you for sharing this! xxoo, sug!

  • Amina

    🙂 My grandma died on my birthday 7 years ago… But she’s the reason I bake, and she’s the person that taught me to make lasagna. I now have some pretty world famous lasagna and mostly all my friends beg me to bake for them… I love you story… It brought back memories.

  • Michelle

    I love how your grandma has her glasses on a pearl eye-classes necklace!

  • Vanessa

    THANK YOU for this memory! Very awesome that you got to see and learn this skill from her. I can’t wait to see the recipe.

  • arne

    Wish I had a grand mother to teach me recipes 🙁 Also, don’t forget to strike through items 26 and 27 on teh original list.

  • Anna

    Those are some seriously FAT ravioli… woah. Ours look like pipsqueaks compared to those. Is it a trick of the eye or does she make monster pasta? Either way it looks fantastic!

  • Tiffany

    Looks so yummy! love pasta



  • michelle @ The Domestic Mama

    AW. I miss my grandma so much. She taught me hot fudge sauce and biscuits. I am happy for you that you still have yours to enjoy!

  • heather

    The board, the recipe, the time with your grandma, her pat on the back, the memories — truly something to be thankful for! Thanks so much for sharing the story.



  • whitneybee

    I bet those are the best ravioli ever! Love that you shared this with us!

  • Danielle

    We are twins! I just wrote about making sweet potato gnocchi and ruminating on the economics of purchasing pasta rollers!! 😉 You are so so so lucky to still have your grandma around to pass on her recipes and culinary knowledge…and that polenta board. Looking forward to reading your pasta recipe!

  • Jessica

    Aww, this is so sweet. 🙂 I bet those are the best ravioli EVER. My grandma and I made and decorated Christmas cookies with her recipe when I was little, and several years ago, she showed me how to make her family’s chicken ‘n dumplings recipe. Sharing is caring!

  • Megan Gordon

    Sweetness. Love those photos…agree with Danielle that you’re so lucky to have her close by to share recipes! What a great experience. Unrelated: Can you believe I”ve never made pasta? Grrr. Must fix that soon. Between your post and Danielle’s post…there’s really no excuse.

    • Tracy

      YOU SHOULD! It’s really really easy. I couldn’t believe how fast it was to whip up. Honestly.
      My grandma just moved back to New York, so we won’t be having anymore pasta making moments until I go visit her 🙁
      Denise makes pasta a lot. Maybe we should invite ourselves over to her place and we can do it!

  • Michelle

    Your list is a great idea. I always love your pics, but these are just exceptional. I feel like I’m in your grandmother’s kitchen just looking at them. Lovely.

  • Nicole

    Such a sweet post. Homemade pasta is another thing I have yet to make, sigh. Maybe when we’re stuck inside while the snow blows I’ll make a project out of it.

  • My Interview with Lucinda Scala Quinn › shutterbean

    […] discussed how I recently learned how to make ravioli with my grandma and how important that food memory was for me. […]

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