Our Grandmothers from Italy

CARLUCCIA

Whenever Carluccia made beans in pignata, she couldn’t help but to go foraging for wild edible greens. She was hardwired in this way; shelling beans meant autumn, and autumn meant wild greens.


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USHA

Usha was tender and methodical with her baking. Each day the wooden dough board came out, as did a big knife for cutting butter, and small bowlfuls of ingredients—apples, nuts, plums, and on a rare occasion even chocolate.


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AMBROGINA CAIONE

In 1962 my grandmother began stealing, every other day, from the cash register in my grandfather’s pharmacy.


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MAMMA MARIA

Mamma Maria learnt to cook by her mother’s side. “You just watch and spend time. You lend a hand. Maybe the first time you make a mistake, then the second time you do it right. It’s not that you are “taught.””


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ARMIDA

Armida cooked for an army’s worth of people on Sundays. Thirty or forty locals would come for lunch, bringing goods to exchange with one another, and lingering for hours over her food on long tables set under the olive trees.


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