A really great Sicilian cook…
My mother, Lucy, was a really great Sicilian cook! What I mean by that is that she was a really great Sicilian cook!
Now days when we say a person is a good cook, what it really means is that they know what to buy at the grocery store or at specialty markets. There are many boxed foods that you just mix and cook by following the directions on the box. You can buy ready made foods in the meat and deli cases; sausage, meatballs, sauce, soups, and salads. All a person has to do is put their ready made foods together to make a delicious meal. We say they are good cooks.
But no matter what they do, it isn’t like my mother’s home-made everything! The meals we grew up on were the foods that originated in the cities from which my mother and father came to America; Modica, Pozzolo, and Sicilia. That is what makes our recipes unique. Her, OUR foods are very different from Italian food. They have that Sicilian flair that came only from my mother’s kitchen and now mine.
When I was a little kid, we didn’t have all the conveniences that we have now. Everything my mother cooked was made from scratch!
Her sauce was always homemade. Sauce in jars just didn’t make its way into our kitchen. Actually, I think that when I was a kid you couldn’t buy sauce in jars or cans. If you could, I wouldn’t know because we never had it.
As I am reading this before sending it out to you, I remember something about our Sunday Sauce that I had forgotten. I went to church every Sunday morning with my mother; 8:00 mass at St. Francis of Assisi Church. My father didn’t go. Before church, my mother would start the sauce setting it on the stove to simmer. While we were at church, my father kept an eye on the sauce. He would stir it every so often so it wouldn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. I can still hear my mother say to him, every Sunday, before we left the house, “Don’t forget to stir the sauce.”
When my mother made meatballs, she bought the meat for them. The meat was in large pieces. She ground it herself at home with a hand grinder that you had to turn the handle by hand. Now we have electric grinders. It was the same for sausage. She ground the pork, seasoned it, mixed it, and pressed it into casings. They were foot long sausages until she twisted them into separate 4 inch links. Mom’s sausage was the best!
My grandmother’s and my mother’s home-made pasta was to die for! It’s easier and more convenient now to buy boxes of pasta from the grocery store. But, they don’t compare to home-made.
Cream puffs. Cannolli. Specialty cakes and other pastries. Most people don’t make them now that we can buy them. But they don’t compare to home made.
There are also pastries that I learned to make that can not be bought at any store. Just to name a few, there are our real home made cannoli shells and the home-made ricotta cream with small pieces of milk chocolate that fills them with toasted almonds on the ends, sweet dessert ravioli drizzled with honey, Sicilian ribbon cookies drizzled with honey and then sprinkled with confectioners sugar, and cream puffs that we make from scratch and then fill with my great-aunt’s recipe for Sicilian cream and sprinkle with confectioners sugar. (The cream puffs are pictured above and the recipe is yours for signing up for the Free e-recipe cookbook on the top right of my blog posts.)
If you eat at an Italian restaurant, you will not get what we grew up on; Authentic, unique and out-of-this-world Sicilian food like my mother made!
You can make it too!
The recipes for all of my dishes will be in my cookbook that I plan to publish in 2016.
Try some of my recipes now and let me know how they come out! I’d love to hear from you so please leave comments. I’ll write back!