Every single night, my family and I sat down and ate dinner together. It was routine for us. My father would talk about his day and we would all discuss our day’s highlights. Clean up was on a rotating schedule that my father put into force.
After my Mother’s tragic passing, my father and I took over the cooking responsibilities in the house. I watched my mother cook from a very young age and she taught me a few of her recipes before she passed. My father and I would discuss what we were going to make that evening for dinner, he would do the shopping and I would help with the preparation (his sous chef). We also continued the tradition of sitting down every night and eating dinner together.
Now, all of my siblings have moved out and we all have our own families. My father now lives with a wonderful woman named Adelina, who is an amazing cook herself. They host our entire family (including 11 grandchildren!) for a dinner once every two weeks that we aren’t allowed to miss.
(After my mother passed away, my father decided to return to his home town of Calabria, Italy after 30+ years and show us the place where him and my mother grew up.)
Time passes so quickly, but the bond of a family is truly resilient, and the ritual of eating a meal together every night is what I have to thank for this. It’s never about the food we are eating, although my father is a fantastic cook, it’s more about the time we spend together.
One of my Father’s famous dishes is his Pasta with Rapini — the recipe for that dish is here — it’s one of those dishes that is often imitated but never duplicated. He makes it for his staff at the office every Friday. He also makes an amazing Pasta with Chickpeas recipe that he has perfected. I will be sharing that recipe very soon!
My father inspired me by teaching me the value of family and great food!
This holiday season, I’m making a donation on his behalf to Community Food Centres Canada to support vibrant centres that build health and connection in low-income neighbourhoods. Join me! Make a donation on behalf of your food hero at www.myfoodhero.ca #myfoodhe