"Nona, Joe's parents are coming for dinner & I don't know what to make."
"Ah figlia you have to make la bella figura."
"Is that something you eat?"
"Non figlia mia. La bella figura means to makea nicea jobba."
"Oh, don't worry Nona, I will.
What about that chicken you make that's really sticky."
"Ah, Spezzatino? Figlia it's not too hard. You justa have to cooka the chicken nice, ma first wash it real good."
"Nona, I'm going to need a little more help than that. I need the step by step recipe. I can't cook like you. I have to write it down."
"Okay, wella firsta you get your chick. I like a when it's plump. Make sure it's good. Sometime you spenda little more, you know it tastes better. Check Domin, they gotta sale thisa week. Washa the chick."
"What do you mean wash it? Like with soap & water?"
"No figlia, you putta in a bowl with water, some salt & winegar.
Whena you know the chick is clean, dry it good, then you marinate nice."
"What do I marinate it in?"
"Ah, justa little bitta this, a little bitta that. Some oil, pepper, salt. Parsley if you got it.
Rosemary. Don't forget the hot pepper."
"Figlia, helps grow the hair."
"Oh, an don forget the garlic."
"Ah figlia justa little bit!"
"Nona what's just a little bit."
"Ah, you go likea this a coupla times." (Pinching her fingers)
"Okay, then what?"
"You gettta your frying pan, makea sure itsa nice an hot. Put the good oil. I get mine when it's on sale. Your Uncle Ollie picks it up for me. I only use the good oil. People know the difference. Never usea the cheap stuff."
“Nona, how much oil do I put in the pan?”
“Justa nough to cover the bottom. Then you fry it nice. Cooka nice an slow. You don't go, go, go when you cook figlia. Go slow. Put the cover ona the pan.”
“For how long?”
“Ah fiiglia, non so. I don'ta use a watch when I cook. You listen. It makes a noise. It goes cracka, cracka. You look. If it looks nice, okay. If no, go more.”
“Ah near the end, you adda the sliced olives. Soma green, soma black. Getta soma nicea wine, maybe a cuppa. If you no like to use the wine, use the winegar. You cooka little more. Takea the lid offa. Makes a nicea meal.”
“Thanks Nona, I'm going to try it.”
… to this day, not counting calories, carbs or cholesterol … it's still a delicious meal to enjoy. Could it be that maybe it's because we can't help but think of Nona when we eat it?