Thursday, January 12, 2012

Nonna

I first met Joe's grandma, Nonna, and grandpa, Nini,  just a few weeks after we started dating.  The family would get together every Sunday for lunch.  There would be a huge pot of pasta (there is never enough as far as grandma in concerned), chicken, potatoes, fiscotini, wine, assorted vegetables, caffe latte and fruit.

I loved going.  I loved grandma and grandpa.  They welcomed me from the very beginning as I sought to capture the heart of their grandson :)




It was loud (even though they ALL say that I am loud, truly, it was loud) and it was filled with lots of talk, lots of food.  Everyone would help with the clean up, except those that will remain nameless that would escape to the bathroom.   When there was wedding soup on the table you knew Anthony was coming.  Julie would make appearances.  Occasionally Uncle Nick would stop by with produce for everyone.  An uncle would show up at times.  Friends, girlfriends, boyfriends all came through the house, too.  All were welcomed and made at home.  Grandma loves to share her food and loves to tell stories.


Not long after we were married I said to Joe that I want to be grandma.   What I meant by that is I want to make things from scratch.  I want to have a long table filled with food for everyone to eat.   I want to be remembered for the food that I make, the lunches or dinners that I have.  I want to have a house where everyone is welcome and everyone gathers.   




And sometimes when I get down about my weight, I think of grandma.  I think of how every inch of grandma is treasured, not because of what she is wearing or how she looks but because of how she loves.  When I start to become anxious about the food I am making - is is good enough?  is it special enough?  I think of grandma.  I have only ever had maybe 8 different dishes at her house and I have had MANY, MANY meals there.  Wedding soup, pasta, pasta potate, chicken, potatoes, chicken cutlets, sausage and rice balls - always delicious, always good.  Why?  Because it's grandma food.  It tastes of her, it tastes of the love she pours into whatever she is making.  Nothing will ever taste quite like it.  When I start to think I need to dust, I need to organize this or that or that our house isn't as pretty as it should be.  I think of grandma.  I never really notice what her house looks like - outside of the statues that she decorates with flowers or scarves or any manner of things, cracks me up.  Her house is warm and welcoming and she is always excited to see you.   Grandma is more than just her house, her appearance, her food.  And that's what I want.


I called grandma the first time I made cheese.  I called her when I used the whey leftover from cheesemaking to make bread - she was impressed, she never thought to do that.  I called her when I made wedding soup from scratch the first time.  I called her when I went me first year without buying bread, making it at home instead.  Grandma was always encouraging, she always was approving, excited that someone else is doing the things she always did and thought they were important too.  I know I have a long way to go to achieve grandma status but I hope I am on my way.  I hope that one day our house will be the gathering place that grandma's always was...........and I hope that Anthony or Vince will take me to Marc's when I am old and pick up MY tab.  For if I am to be grandma surely Anthony is Uncle Frank and Vince/Joe both remind me of grandpa.

A little grandma story............have you ever seen "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"?  Remember the spray bottle of windex?  How it was to be used for EVERYTHING?  Well, grandma kind of feels the same way about vinegar.  One time at dinner she pulled out a spray bottle of vinegar and started squirting her salad.  I about peed my pants, it was hysterical.  So many things about that movie remind me of the clan.

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