As a child many of my days were spent shadowing my grandmother, Vincenza (“Vinny”) and Grandfather Arturo (“Tuddy”) in the basement kitchen of their modest, pristine home in Bethpage, New York. My younger brother, Andrew and I were always occupied with culinary adventures. Sun-dyring tomatoes, pickling eggplants, straining fermented grapes into large gallon jugs and crumbling stale semolina bread – seasoning it just so…Though each felt like a magic trick to both of us, there was one day above the rest we waited all month for, “Pizza Day.” Upon entering the back door in the morning I would grab Drew’s hand and slide down the steps, bottoms first to the basement kitchen. Peeking around the corner past the sink and under the small sliding window, there was our confirmation that our favorite day had arrived. A big green bowl topped delicately with a damp tea cloth coaxing the dough beneath it to rise.
Today it’s the kitchen where I feel my most comfortable, most self assured, where I take risks and count time by dishes prepared. Where memories flood my mind and I take solace in a clean plate and swollen belly.