In Italy, large meals are concluded with the saying “siamo alla frutta”, literally translated, “we are at the fruit”(dessert). In our household, we always ended our meals with a home-cooked dessert and my favorite, without a doubt, was my grandmothers butterscotch pie, always made from scratch in a double boiler.
The tradition and culture of food has always been important in our family. I believe that the process of preparing and serving food was an integral part of my mother and grandmother’s existence. Food was always at the center of family celebrations marking big victories on the hardwood or soccer field. I vividly remember my senior year in high school, clinching a tourney spot, securing a trip to the Bangor auditorium and ending with a big victory over a very talented Easton team. More memorable than the game itself was the potluck supper that followed, hosted by parents and school administrators and attended by all the players and their families. The highlight of that meal were two of my grandmother’s homemade butterscotch pies and my teammates and I rushed through the main course anticipating the mouth-watering famous pie. I recall my mother carrying the two pies, one in each hand, through the cafeteria door. Then, the unthinkable occurred as my mother suddenly stumbled. Thankfully, she was able to regain her balance avoiding a fall, but the pies weren’t so lucky. In an instant, they were gone, landing on the floor in an upside-down mess. For a team celebrating a big victory, we all felt rather depressed for a time as we mourned the loss of our favorite pie.
What we eat does more than fill our stomachs and nourish our bodies. Good food lifts our spirits and helps us appreciate the world a little more. It also makes us appreciate the love and effort that goes into preparing such good food. For years, I’ve talked to my mother, Mona, to allow me to sit in as she recreates my Mémère Jeanne’s famous butterscotch pie.
So, in celebration of my grandmother, mother and wife, thank you from the bottom of my heart for not only feeding my body, but nourishing my soul and spirit.