Greetings, dear readers!
I am sorry to be a mite tardy here – I have been on a culinary journey! Without even leaving home. And it was lovely.
Here’s what I’ve been up to: I have a long-time fascination with Italian – I’ve been doing daily language lessons for about a year and have started to feel that first sense of fluency, which is really fun. I also love to cook and last fall I stumbled across the most amazing documentary (“Funke”) about American chef Evan Funke, who became a true sfoglino (master pasta maker). What made me love the movie even more, was that I understood some of the Italian spoken by Chef Funke and his teachers. It made me feel connected to the craft, although I’ve only made pasta once before. I started plotting.
And then I came across the link – I don’t even remember where I found it, but it was instantly appealing and irresistible – live video cooking lessons from an Italian nonna (grandma). Oh yeah. Sign. Me. Up.
This was a gift to myself for having completed all those daily Italian lessons. A prelude, I hope, to one day being able to travel to Italy, when time and circumstance allow.
I was in the class with about 15 other people and everyone was having such a good time. There was even one family having a contest. I made potato gnocchi for the very first time, with a fresh basil pesto. It’s made by hand with attention and simple ingredients (how much simpler can you get than a boiled potato?). I have no idea if my gnocchi would actually pass muster with Nonna Nerina, but I was astonished at the taste and texture of what came out of my kitchen. It was seriously delicious.
As someone who grew up with family dinner every night, it was really special to cook and eat with other people for the first time in two months. And I didn’t even fully realize how much that would mean to me until afterwards. Grazie, Nonna Nerina. Molto grazie.
It came home to me again that fresh food, made and shared with joy, feeds you more. What a blessing.
Readers, I wish you many sweet, safely shared blessings. I hope you are keeping safe and well as the world begins to slowly open the doors again. Your comments are always welcome and I am glad you are here.
PS. Kitchen tip I can’t believe I didn’t know – you do not need to peel potatoes before boiling them. Once they are cooked, the jackets slip right off. Nonnas know.