Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mangia Tutto!

So Pop-Pop's tomatoes are planted for the season. Although it's hard to see the garden, this is actually how I remember seeing it for the first time every year for as long as I can remember. Standing on my tiptoes. Nose pressed against the glass. Looking through the screen to see the little mounds of dirt that would miraculously become tiny plants, and then huge plants, and then eventually the juicy, red tomatoes. I also remember playing baseball in the backyard and knowing that if you hit a ball into Pop-Pop's garden, you'd better get it out quick before he sees. And there'd be hell to pay if you accidentally squashed a plant. We usually sent Nick in after them.

I never really thought much about the garden when I was little, but now that I'm older and starting my own family and my own traditions, I'm seeing the garden in a different light. It's definitely more than just a bunch of plants, because by the end of the summer, when the tomatoes are picked, the magic happens. The sauce-making begins. I've been there to help cut up tomatoes, or jar the sauce, but I've never made it through the whole process. The homemade pasta and the making of the sauce are a ritual that's been going on in this household since long before I was around.

I've just recently realized that I really want to know everything that goes into it. How is the pasta made? How many eggs? How much flour? How long do you simmer the sauce? And how much garlic? If there's on thing I've learned from my Italian family, it's that there's no such thing as too much garlic.

So my mission for this summer is to be around. To see how it's done. Lend a hand. Learn a thing or two. And maybe, someday, I'll do the same thing with my kids. Tell them all about Mom-Mom and Pop-Pop and all the good things and good food and good friends that came from that house.


  1. I had a similar moment shortly after I moved out here - I realized that I enjoy cooking and wanted to cook for myself. Ok, great... what should I make? How about that one thing mom always made that I liked so much! Err... ok, how? Call mom and ask! "Oh and while youre at it can you write down every other recipe you know?" She made me a little binder with lots of family recipes that I've been adding to whenever I can.

  2. My mom would grow tomatoes, cucumbers and fresh herbs in her garden. I loooved those cucumbers! I can't wait to have a yard so I can try my hand a gardening. That one looks fantastic!!