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Food for Thought

In our house where I grew up in Ohio we had two kitchens. My mom kept an upstairs kitchen that was reserved for holidays and special occasions. At Christmas time she used the extra oven to bake massive amounts of Italian cookies and panetonne (Italian sweet cake). In the basement we had our everyday kitchen that was open to the garage and had a 1956 Mercury parked a few feet from the dinner table. It sat there with it’s two conical bumper extensions aimed at my head. During dinner we could hear it creaking and moaning while the engine cooled off. This was our 1950’s version of the “great room.”

My parents grew a huge vegetable garden and would forage in the woods and fields for wild mushrooms and dandelion greens. My father would graft limbs from other fruit trees onto his sizable orchard. Saturdays the egg man would come by and my mother would haggle over the price of his chickens and usually offer him a glass of homemade wine as a bargaining tool. Sauces went on in the mornings, greens were washed, chickens slaughtered and pasta rolled out and cut. Conversations at the dinner table always revolved around food. This is the environment which inspired me to love cooking.

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