Nonna is my mum’s mum and although she is only actually Nonna to a few of us, everyone from the family priest to my friends call her Nonna. It seems only fit that her table appear in my LOVE section as besides the fact that I just adore her one of the things all people love about her, is her love of cooking!
This Easter was my first large-ish family meal at Nonna’s Table since I upped and moved to NY and it was amazing as always. If you’re ever blessed enough to sit at her table here are a couple of tips…
I suggest you don’t eat anything for the day or two before… and you certainly wont need to for the week after! These meals can last a good six to eight hours with an infinite variety and quantity of food. Nonna is incapable of cooking for just a six or eight people, more comfortable for maybe 30 or 40. She always worries there wont be enough, so her fridge is meticulously crammed with a jigsaw of pots containing leftovers for at least a week; even after other people have been sent home with containers of her goodies.
Try everything, don’t be shy… Diets are best left aside for the day. If you don’t eat, Nonna will not so much be offended but worry about you starving, so will constantly be trying to get you to have “just a little bit.” Your taste buds will be treated to her lovingly made or handpicked treats, from the infamous meatballs and lasagne to the bocconcini, sopressata and bread sourced from different Italian deli’s she’s been visiting for over 40 years! We only had three courses this weekend, as a family wedding in a couple of weeks means we’re all on a “diet” – however not a leaf of salad was to be seen and we still had a dish of pasta and bread. But, in our defence we did have sorbet instead of ice-cream or tiramisu and just one box of chocolates!
And finally, especially at her table, listen out for the words of wisdom or stories from Nonna’s early days in America. You’ll likely hear “My mother used to say…” followed by a saying “whicha sounds bedder in Italian” – my current favourite being “One hand washes the other and they both wash the face”
Her little sayings, piles of food and abundant love are priceless. And while I’m sure I’m not alone in having family times where you chat and eat, argue and eat, discuss and eat more, I swear there is something extra special about the time spent around my Nonna’s Table.
Larchmont – NY