April 26, 2017
Growing up with an ethnically Italian mother and an ethnically Slovak father, we mostly ate Italian food with Slovak food appearing on the table every week or two. On Sundays we usually went to visit my father’s parents and got a bit more Slovak food.
There were some classic American dishes that appeared on our table, too. But, honestly, not that often. The only thing my mother made that I didn’t like was hamburgers. Well, that and liver.
But even my mother didn’t like liver. She made it because my father liked it. There was never the expectation that anyone else would eat it.
When she made liver…and that process involved running from the living room, through the dining room, to the kitchen to turn the liver as it sautéed and then running back to the living room to avoid the smell…she always made something else for the rest of us. Well, that wasn’t so unusual either. Remember…Southern Italian mother…food is important…everyone needs to eat. There were nights when she would make one meal for my father, one for my sister, and one for me. She would eat one of the three.
We always ate dinner together as a family and, despite the comment above, we usually at the same meal. Sometimes, though, we each got individually catered food.
But back to hamburgers for a moment. My mother was a great cook. I know she used really good beef for her hamburgers. She usually picked out a whole cut and had the butcher grind it. She never bought ground beef that I recall. I still follow the basic blueprint of her hamburger recipe today and enjoy it. So, I can’t really tell you why I thought her hamburgers were awful. But I did.
Soup was a big deal in our house. My father really liked soup. Interestingly, I don’t remember having Caraway Soup more than a few times while growing up. I do know, however, that while I was in college I got the recipe from my mother after it appeared on our table one day. It seemed like a revelation.
It has been a regular on my table ever since.