Tastes like childhood. That phrase always conjured up visions of Pennywise the Clown trying to lure kids down the storm drain so he could snack on them. Doesn’t make me think of food.
Most of my favorite childhood memories revolved around me eating. Constantly. Especially in my grandmother’s kitchen. She was always cooking something. I just wish I paid more attention to what she was doing in there.
She was a firm believer in keeping everything in her head. Like Rapunzel in her tower. Locked away from prying eyes..
On the rare occasion she did note anything, it was in Italian. I was only taught how to eat Italian, not read it. Basically useless notes.
On the off-chance she passed a recipe along, it was never quite whole. One subtle flavor short. Not a sabotage, but more of a security blanket. It’s okay, you can say mine is better.
As an adult, this makes replicating my favorite dish a bit of a nuisance. Come to think of it, I’m not sure it’s an actual dish. She was known for making good use of leftovers to create things like Imitation Soup.
Why not just Google it? I did. I can’t find it. Anywhere. I tried searching for the name she called it, eye-dee-el but I don’t know how to spell it. Because I never saw it written down. Sneaky Nana.
I knew most of the ingredients. Just not the execution. Tomatoes, ziti, garlic, olive oil, and grated parmesan. It just seemed to come out of her oven, perfectly layered in a rectangle pyrex. Multiple layers of ziti, sliced garlic, sliced potatoes, and sliced tomatoes. Olive oil was drizzled in there somewhere along with a hefty dose of grated parmesan. It tasted like heaven, yet no one outside of my family has ever heard of it.
I finally went the route of generically searching the ingredients. I found a recipe that matched the ingredient list. The execution was completely different. It didn’t quite turn out how it was supposed to. I couldn’t seem to keep the stew consistency, but I didn’t mind. It looked different, but it tasted exactly the same. Wouldn’t you know it, just like childhood.
Click here for the Pasta with Potatoes recipe.
What’s your favorite dish from Grandma?