Nonna, che cosa si mangia oggi?

Nonna, what are we eating today?

A usual Saturday morning, Nonna was up early, making home made pasta.  My Nonna, Delia, lived with us, and as a young girl my memories of her are mainly around food.

Her speciality was ciriole, a hand-made thick, spaghetti-like pasta.   Lunch at the table was big deal for our family.  As mum and dad went to work in the restaurant most afternoons, lunch was family time.

I’d walk down the stairs of a morning and the first smell was of the coffee on the stove; the second was the smell of the fresh dough.  “Buongiorno” I’d say and give Nonna a kiss. As I ate my breakfast I’d watch her knead the dough with ease and grace.  She was a small, round woman and adorable.

As she worked the dough by hand, she’d tell me stories and I’d be mesmerised by her every move. She’d cut the dough into small balls and roll each one into individual hand-made ciriole.  They were long, fat, solid spaghetti and made from water and flour (no egg). They could only be made by hand.

The tomato pasta sugo would be cooking on stove, and the smell wafting through the house was out of this world.  I always woke to the smell of lunch in our home; not breakfast.  As I sat at that bench the morning would flow by. Dad would come in for a moment for his 6th espresso and brush past me with a kiss.  Mum would be moving through the house, busily doing house chores and yelling at dad, “Franco, enough with the coffee.”

It was noisy, but it was my world.  For me it was peaceful.  I was a teenager immersed in our Italian chaos.

There was no place like it. 

I wanted to be here. 

This was home. 

This was where I belonged.

Lunch was always so heartfelt. We’d talk Italian, over the top of each other.  Dad would drink a wine or two with lunch, and then melt into the couch for his routine siesta.  Nonna would hide in the toilet, stealing a quiet moment for a sneaky cigarette, so no-one knew she was smoking. And my siblings and I would clean the kitchen with mum.

And then, there was silence. The house fell quiet and, with a full belly and heart, we’d all settle into the rest of our day.

Dad and Nonna passed many years ago, and this memory brings me great comfort and lights me up. I miss them dearly and am so thankful for these strong memories.

It’s the moments in life that matter! It’s the moments, we breath deep into our hearts to be relived over and over again.

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