Visiting grandma in that foggy hilltop town of Scranton, Penn. was always a special treat. Grandma came from the “old country” — Italy. She spoke broken English and made spaghetti from scratch. Salad fixings were harvested from her abundant backyard garden.
Grandma always encouraged my sisters and me to “mangia” and no translation was needed. We feasted in her basement at a big, white farm table with a built-in drawer. On the wall was a map of the old hometown— a tiny, fairytale place in hill country near Rome. The map read “Strangolagalli.” (It was a funny name that reminded me of an exotic Italian dish.)
After grandma passed, I visited there with my mom, aunt and three uncles. This is where my grandmother grew up and learned to cook. There wasn’t much of a need to consult a recipe. She cooked simply, with fresh, often homegrown ingredients, from memory. Now I wish she would have written down her recipes.
The popular “WNED Cooks” returns to WNED-TV on Saturday, May 19 with an all-new live program, “Ethnic Favorites.” Now is the perfect time to gather those recipes, talk to your family members and write down those time-honored ingredients and directions.
Then, by all means, send those recipes to WNED! All recipes we receive will be compiled into the official WNED COOKS Ethnic Favorites cookbook, a wonderful keepsake compilation chock full of great cooking ideas enjoyed in kitchens throughout Western New York and Southern Ontario.
A select few contributors – both everyday cooks and professional chefs -- will be invited to prepare their recipes live on the air with Host Eileen Koteras Elibol. [She’s pictured above at left with her mom (center) and sister.]
Eileen says she developed a love of cooking – especially in the Polish tradition – from her family. “Growing up, I spent a lot of time with my grandmother, helping her in the kitchen,” she says. “She passed on her love of cooking and the tradition of making dishes with love for your family.”
Isn’t that what’s it all about? Those ethnic dishes and traditions are precious gifts you can give to your children and grandchildren. But don’t rely on memory – put it in writing and pass it around.
Submit recipe(s), full name and phone number to:
WNED Cooks: Ethnic Foods, Horizons Plaza, PO Box 1263, Buffalo, NY 14240 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When you hear the phrase “favorite ethnic dish” what comes to mind?