Cannoli Fridays


When I was in elementary school, I loved Fridays. Of course, that’s not surprising—everyone loves Fridays. However, unlike my classmates at my Baltimore Catholic school, my excitement was not centered on sleeping in, seeing friends, or even wearing something besides my awful plaid uniform jumper (maroon and white, over a white collared shirt and navy tights). All of that excitement was reserved for Saturdays. Friday was cannoli day. Continue reading

Gingerbread Cookies for All Ages

It started when I was young. Every few months my Dad would come home from the store, sit me up on our kitchen island, and we would bake a cake together. We started with the box mix. We’d measure out the flour and oil together, my Dad holding the cups steady in contrast to my uneven pour. He’d even let me break the eggs myself – although that, unfortunately, often resulted in us fishing out a few bits of shells. As I grew older and spent less time at home, my Dad and I were able to bake together less and less; yet, we were able to become more diverse in our baking style: we moved on from boxed cake mixes to more advanced brownies and cupcakes. Soon, we were only baking together over Christmas break, using premade gingerbread dough to create Christmas masterpieces. We bought special cut-outs and rainbow-hued icings in order to create an appealing scene of purple reindeer, polka-dotted gingerbread women, shiny North stars, and even a gingerbread man with a fondness for lederhosen. Continue reading

Nana Never Says No Cake


Nana Never Says No Cake

I am one of the few fortunate children that get to live fifteen minutes from their grandparents. The distance was perfect: too far to walk by myself, but close enough I could go every weekend. My grandfather was a special man, but my grandmother is my Nana. A short woman, not more than 5” 1’, she is perfectly huggable. She is a beautiful, kind, stubborn woman that can make anyone do anything she wants by simply asking. Her favorite vacation is the guilt trip, and she has been in retirement for 40 years. Nana has been seemingly preserved in time—with the exception of a few smile lines and about ten grey hairs, she never aged a day over 57. The only hint of her age, a number I am sure to never know for certain, is in her eyes; their deep chocolate glow seems to only grow stronger with every great- grandchild. She lives in a very small house that her father built in a quickly dilapidating town with no stoplights. A twenty-four-hour chicken-processing plant took residence at the end of the adjacent street, but despite the shape of the community, Nana loves her little house. Frankford, Delaware is her town and she isn’t going to let it go without a fight. To this day she sits in the same pew she sat in with her parents as a little girl. Needless to say, Nana is a woman of habit and tradition. Continue reading

Cooked lentil fritters.

Muted Mush

My family likes to joke about the fact that I never have a way to finish the sentence, “I really miss my mom’s…” There are no gooey chocolate chip cookies to crave, no bubbling casseroles filled with cheese and holiday memories, no sun tea to slurp through a straw. My mom still asks, every time I come home, if I have any special requests for dinner, and then we both laugh and I remind her to pick up my favorite cereal from the store. It’s not that my mom can’t cook, or doesn’t cook; it’s just that for her, our kitchen has never primarily been a place of recipe crafting or apron wearing. Rather, it serves as the perfect space to enact her identity as a do-it-all mother of three with a firm belief in joy and a Scarlett O’Hara attitude about worries (“I’ll think about that tomorrow”). Continue reading