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  • Diana

Food for thought

For some it's football, a TV show, shopping or even a man cave. For me, it was the smell that filled our house early Sunday morning and didn't fade away until dusk.

There is nothing that compares to my mom's authentic Italian sauce. The taste is rich and it has a perfect blend of seasonings. I love it for the taste, but it was the one thing that united our family. Sauce still has that power today.

I remember my grandpa's sauce was one of the best. He used to grow his own tomatoes and it was incredible. But in his eyes, homegrown tomatoes weren't the key to a successful pot of sauce. He would say, "My secret ingredient is thyme. But not the spice. Thyme as in time." He was right. There is nothing better than a pot of sauce that is carefully boiled on the stove all day. But I also think he meant that the time spent with family after the sauce is cooked can make the meal taste even better.

My grandpa is known for his riddles and corny jokes. But when he brought that silly behavior to the table (to entertain his grandkids of course), my grandma was not happy. I remember my grandpa used angel hair pasta as an opportunity to let his comedic side shine. I will never forget my grandpa slirping his pasta and my grandma's reply of "Tony, that's enough! This is God's table."

However, it wasn't just sauce that created memories. My grandma's Italian rolls definitely put store bought rolls to shame. We have home videos of my sister and I rolling dough with my grandma as we tried to replicate the perfect circles she created out of flour and dough. I even remember sneaking raw dough and eating it behind her back. Nothing made her more mad than that, but at the time it was funny. Not to mention, my grandpa instigated this bad behavior. :)

My grandpa also made a few mouth watering soups. My sister's favorite was egg soup and mine was macaroni and beans. Inside egg soup you would find garlic, oil, water, a raw egg that was cooked in the boiling water and acini di pepe (a very small pasta). Don't let my small physique fool you, in the past I was notorious for eating six bowls of macaroni and beans.

One of the last memories I have of my grandma before Alzheimer's creeped in was when she cooked with my grandpa. It had to be 11 p.m. and as a child, my sister and I were definitely in bed. One night we woke up from our sleep over at grandma and grandpa's and told them we were hungry. Without hesitation, my grandparents cut up potatoes, fried them and smiled ear to ear as they watched us eat homemade french fries.

Food brought my family together and it will help to keep these special memories alive.

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