I’ve made no secret of my desire to become an Italian grandmother. Really, my desire is to cook like an Italian grandmother. I want to have that kitchen where everybody wants to gather and where everybody leaves counting the seconds until they get in the car, take off their belts, and unbutton their pants. I love people with food. It’s a character flaw. And I want to love them with really good, really comforting food. It’s a big character flaw.
I told one of my coworkers, Tina, about my desire to be an Italian grandmother. Tina is not only an awesome person, she’s an honest-to-goodness Italian. Sicilian, specifically. With an Italian passport and everything. And she has an honest-to-goodness Italian mother and two honest-to-goodness Italian grandmothers. She loved my plan and was nothing but encouraging. She told her mother about my plan to become an Italian grandmother, to which her mom asked “oh, when is her first grandchild due?” “No no,” Tina explained, “she’s nowhere near being a grandmother. She is just doing this as a lifestyle choice.” By Tina’s account, the hysterical laughter from her mother lasted several minutes.
To be clear, I’m 32. There is no chance of me becoming a grandmother for a long long time, as my only child is 3. And I’m not the least bit Italian. My mother is a genealogist, and has spent hours upon hours in the LDS libraries researching every twig on our family tree. I assure you that not one single branch of that tree is growing olives or San Marzano tomatoes. There is not one single drop of Italian blood in my body. I do this because I love Italy. I love the food, I love my visits there, and I want to get as close as I can to recreating that country’s love and comfort in my own home.
I needed a book – a big one – full of recipes and beautiful pictures. For Mother’s Day this year, I decided to treat myself to exactly this. I went shopping and returned home with a copy of Cook Italy by Katie Caldesi. My goal is to cook my way through as much as I possibly can, using my CSA veggies whenever possible, and blogging the highlights and inevitable failures along the way. So starting soon, keep your eyes peeled for a new regular feature – Becoming an Italian Grandmother!