In the beginning was my grandmother. She cooked by feel. It was almost poetry.
“You knead the dough, and when it feels right, it is You taste the sauce as you go, and when it tastes right, it is”
She did her cooking early, before the day warmed up, as she learned in a tiny Italian hilltown. Transported by marriage to a cold New England kitchen, heat rarely mattered. Still, she meticulously followed this routine, and by afternoon, kitchen sparkling clean, Nonna settled into her comfortable wingback tuning in a fuzzy Julia Child on prehistoric PBS.
Much later, I realized my grandmother’s fascination with the show: a woman cooking on television gave the act status. In JC’s words: “…cooking is just as creative and imaginative an activity as drawing or music …” Nonna felt like a culinary poet.
So, although I’ve never consider kneading dough, I know my way around a kitchen because of these women …
I can slice, dice, pare, saute, braise, stew, and deep fry. Anyone can. Cooking is not supposed to be difficult. It’s supposed to be life-sustaining.
No mysticism here. No camera angles either. Just information and ease of play.