May 292011

There was nothing like gathering around the dinner table at Rosa’s house on Sunday evening. With children laughing and the aroma of freshly baked cornbread dancing in the air, we engaged in our weekly dining ritual.
Sweet potato soufflé dressed with browned marshmallows, buttered corn and oven-fried chicken were Sunday dinner staples. Buttery pound cake or silky sweet potato pie were the crowning glory of these fine evenings.
As we savored dessert, the steam of mint tea would rise from our mugs and intermingle in our conversations. Smiling faces would burst into laughter and the evening felt complete.
In Italy, I have access to great food, wine and cheeses but I miss those Sunday dinners at Rosa’s. The love and comfort felt around the dinner table still touch me.
I’m reminded of a time I felt compelled to cook for the family.
Nervous about the dinner, I searched for recipes and slaved away in the kitchen hoping everyone would like it. More than anything, I wanted to share my gratitude to Rosa for being a loving adoptive grandparent to me. Her love and support allowed me to flourish as a cook and as a person.
After searching for recipes that would be perfect for the occasion I came up with a menu: roasted bell peppers stuffed with savory rice, oven roasted chicken marinated in 40 cloves of garlic and basted with an apricot mustard sauce, cheesy jalapeño cornbread and great-grandmother Peggy’s pound cake for dessert. Dinner was a hit!
This Sunday evening, as I sit in my Italian kitchen 4,000 miles away, I’m reminded of the strength, love, friendship and generosity of Ms. Rosa Malloy and her wonderful family. Here’s hoping they’ll be many more Sunday dinners to share…Cheers!

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