Story: What are your experiences teaching & learning in the time of coronavirus?
We know from living the power of senses. A song can transport us back to a significant moment -- the memory of a dance, a friend, a summer, a time. A scent can trigger an emotion. A taste can bring us back to our grandmothers' kitchens.
Today -- Easter Sunday, April 12, 2020 -- taste took me back. I bit into an onion pizza. Really a calzone, but my family called it an onion pizza. Onions sauteed gently until translucent and tender. Sicilian olives pitted and diced, but not too fine. Capers. Anchovies simmered to a paste. All ingredients tossed, spread, and then baked in pepper-seasoned dough brushed in egg wash.
It's simple food.
And was always prepared communally. My mother aunts, grandmother and great aunts used to meet on Good Friday, in the basement kitchen of Carbone's, down where the pizza ovens were, to make the onion pizza, along with an Easter calzone of ham, lamb, sausage, Swiss and hard, sharp Provolone cheeses. The dough making and filling -- the mixing, the rising, the kneading, the rolling, the filling, the folding, the crimping and egg-washing before baking -- was of a ceremony. Dozens upon dozens of onion pizzas and calzones (what we called the ham-lamb-sausage pie) would be sent forth, one of each for each household in the family.
It has been decades now since the women in the family gathered to bake on Good Friday. The tradition stopped before I was married. But the recipes lived on, and my mother made the pies at home. My wife and I make them still.
We didn't make them on Good Friday this year -- the pandemic has shifted things. We made them on Saturday. We had some dinner last night. But they always taste better the next day, and today on Easter, they tasted better than ever.
The bite into each brought me back to the restaurant kitchen. Brought me back to helping as my aunts and great aunts, mother and grandmother, cooked and chatted, laughed and and baked.
The taste suspended the physical distancing, assuaged an Easter where family can not join us at the table.
Good food will do that.
Keywords/Tags: Not Provided
Contributor Comments on the Story