Cooking was never my thing. Hard to imagine coming from an Italian family who all cooked like professional chefs. There was no such thing as buying pre-made pasta or sauce-in-a-jar. No, the pasta was made from scratch for ravioli, manicotti and lasagna.

Gravy…okay, if you aren’t Italian you would call it “sauce”. Anyway, the gravy was made with meatballs and pork and braciola—I don’t know what the heck that was; maybe the hide of some animal, but don’t quote me on it. So, the gravy cooked on the stove for eight hours. Mmnn, my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Now, you would think I would have learned something—a trick or two from watching my mother and grandmother cook. But no. I hated the kitchen. Hated the stove and the sink, but not the refrigerator, which is clearly evidenced by the extra cellulite Covid gifted me last year.

But I digress. When I was thirteen, we girls had to take a home economics course. You know, sewing (which I was terrible at), hospital-style bed changing with a person in the bed (failed that one, too).

And then came the day we were to prepare a meal: a simple prep for tuna casserole. I passed this with ease. So, one night, I decided I was ready for the kitchen and would prepare the family meal.

My home economics specialty: tuna casserole.

And I served it to my very Italian family.

After which everyone spit their mouthful into the garbage, along with the casserole and the casserole dish.

Suffice it to say, after that, cooking was never my thing.

Until next time. When a martini and a book meet.

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Donna Lattanzio, Author