My Italian Grandmother

My grandmother Olga was of italian descent. Her father came to America after fleeing from the economic hardships of  the early 1900's. She always greeted everybody with a smile, a warm conversation and plenty of food. She made no distinctions between ethnic or social classes. For her these things didn't even exist. It was very frequent to hear any of my friends asking me this question: Are you sure she does not descend from royalty? Because she behaved like a "stateswoman" with well developed people skills. Each time I visited her house, the most frequent questions were: Did you eat? What would you like for dinner? Every meal for her was special, unintentionally giving the impression of having spent a great deal of time looking for the right ingredients for the recipes, some of them "family secrets" passed down from generation to generation. The truth is that she was a "natural" in the kitchen as she appeared almost to be carrying in her DNA some kind of "haute cuisine" strand. After you took the first bite she never stopped asking if you'd care for more meat,salad,wine,water or pasta. She never used the electric stand mixer when preparing cakes as she preferred the old fashioned method: by hand. She spent long afternoons creaming the butter and the sugar over and over with a big wooden spoon.

You could go to the finest italian restaurants and  none would be considered  even close to the taste and "gusto" of the food prepared in my grandmother's kitchen.

I consider my upbringing to be a most privileged one because she planted in me the seed of a tree called: Curiosity. When I was merely a child (4 years old) I remember TV programming in the 70's was awful and anytime I got bored of watching it I grabbed some of the books conveniently placed on shelves next to the rocking chair where I was siting. Titles like "History of Civilization", "Larousse Illustrated Dictonary", "John Milton's Lost Paradise"  were all full of B&W pictures which fueled my enthusiasm on needing more info about who were this people with strange costumes,why do these angels have bat wings, for what purpose the artifacts depicted in this picture were used, etc. So I began asking my grandmother who had an answer for every question. Usually, the answers were spiced with legend. These legend accounts prompted me to investigate further as I grew older and woke up in me the thirst for uncovering "lost worlds" hidden under the disguise of books,

bat56 bat56
36-40, M
Mar 13, 2010