It was exactly six years ago today that my grandmother, Clara, passed away. I'm amazed at how much time has gone by since. While I miss her tremendously, I realize now how much she taught me, and how I share her lessons through my work and the people I connect with. It's beautiful.
One of the wonderful things that Grandma taught me was to put a lot of love in food. Growing up, I marveled at how joyful she was when she cooked – even when I knew she was tired. There was rarely a day that she didn't have an apron tied around her waist, and the oven wasn't to 350°. She always had the radio or TV on. She would sing to tunes from her "boy" Frank Sinatra or cheer on her "boys," the Phillies. Her kitchen just radiated with love…and everyone love being in it.
Grandma had an extra large ceramic mixing bowl with a large pink stripe on it. It was reserved for special family recipes, like her Italian TaDaas or pizelle cookies. I always knew it was an extra good day when Grandma pulled out the big bowl from the pantry. I would be giddy with anticipation about what she would make. Grandma was not a precise cook. She would follow recipes, but she would add an extra pinch of this or a teaspoon-or-so of that. And it never mattered. Nearly everything she made turned out perfectly…and certainly tasted oh-so-good!
I now have Grandma's bowl. It's tucked away in my pantry just like it was in Grandma's. I pull it out to make special recipes just like Grandma did. While my cooking style is different than hers, I do like to improvise and add my own touches here and there. Cooking with Grandma's bowl makes me smile. Using it, I feel connected to her as if she's standing right there with me. Sometimes I hear her singing an "ole blue eyes" tune. And every single time I use the bowl, the dishes I make turn out just right…just as Grandma's did.