“It wasn’t just my mamma’s voice that my brother and I experienced coming through the window of our apartment. As my brother and I would gaze through the window overlooking the restaurant kitchen skylights, we could almost see a swirl of aromas lifting through the air toward our window. We both stood tall breathing in while our stomachs sucked in and our our chests swelled out. We pulled all those wonderful aromas curling up from the skylight all the way up into our nostrils! “ Yummmmiieee yum yum!!”, we would both exclaim to ourselves! Some mornings we didn’t need alarm clocks to wake us up because the scent of simmering tomato sauce coming from the restaurant kitchen was the perfect wake- up call!
Before you all get jealous on how my brother and I were raised on the restaurant foods let me set the record straight. You know how the old saying goes that the “shoemakers children have no shoes!”, well we children felt like “chefs kids didn’t eat chefs meals”! My mom and her sisters insisted that we were on a regiment of healthy eating. Soft boiled eggs for breakfast while lunch consisted of soups. My one Zia made very brothy bland soups while my other Zia made soups that were so thick that you can eat them with a fork! In the early years mamma didn’t cook at all because she was always working. My brother and I were soon disappointed to find out that mamma cooked much the same way! Dinner was just an unseasoned broiled piece of meat and a plain vegetable. If I think back I don’t think my Zias ever served pasta! Of course dessert was out of the question! I can still picture myself with my cousins sitting at the dinner table staring down at our plates confused. It was so difficult to enjoy our healthy meals surrounded by all those wonderful restaurant food aromas. We all realized early on that the papas were the restaurant chefs who made the most delicious meals while the mammas were the home cooks who made sure the children ate healthy foods! You can bet that we children looked forward to Mondays! It was the day the restaurant was closed. It was a special day. Not only did we get spend time with our papas but we got to experience the chefs’ cooking. We even got dessert! Some Mondays all three families would go to my nonna’s house where we ate good there too! In fact our Nonna was a phenominal cook! Monday was my brother and I’s favorite day of the week! It is funny how to this day I still associate Monday as a day of family, love and good eats!”
See our Pork Scallopini al’Arrabiata Recipe.