Grandma Gilda's Spaghetti & Meatballs
Naturally, some of my fondest memories involve food.
What can I say, I'm a hungry gal! (no pun intended) I love food, and believe that food is a huge source in all of our lives; not only for nourishment but for social interaction, comfort, and cultural competence. Therefore, I decided I would do an on-going series of blog posts surrounding all of my fondest food memories
A food memory I treasure most goes back to when I was a little girl- single digit years. My grandma Gilda lived in Elmhurst, just 8 minutes away from us by walking, 3 minutes away if we drove. She lived in the basement of a 3 family house, with a beautiful, open, grassy backyard- which wasn't so common to come across in Queens, NY! Going to her house felt like I was in another world; my paradise.
It was a warm sunny afternoon in the early months of summer. 4pm. The sun was slowly setting but still bright out. There was a warm yellow and orange hue that took up the atmosphere. The weather was balmy. We'd enter my grandmothers apartment and everything was pink- the walls, the carpet, the accent pillows. A pot of homemade sauce with meatballs and sausages cooked on the stovetop alongside a pot of pasta boiling in water. The smell of garlic, oregano, and an overall savory aroma filled up the entire room.
While the food was cooking, my brothers and I would go out back in her huge grassy yard. We'd lay in the grass, basking in the sun, or play hide-and-go seek. I remember hiding in her shed, and it feeling humid and smelling like fresh cut grass and soil. We would do this until we were tired and when our legs felt like jelly.
As the sun began to set and the time was approaching 6pm, my grandmother would call us inside for dinner. At the table, spaghetti was piled high with meatballs, sausage and sauce on fine china, alongside plastic blue cups from the dollar store, which were filled with pink crystal light lemonade. I remember the exact smell and taste- of both the lemonade and pasta. You could taste the hard work and care she put into the meal. My brothers and I would treasure it until our tummies were full and protruding underneath our shirts. Once our plates were licked clean, she would pull Breyer's chocolate ice cream out of the freezer and serve each of us one scoop. It always tasted more like freezer than chocolate, but I enjoyed it that way.
To end the night, she would paint my nails with the color I chose from her array of pink shades in the drawer of her dresser. I remember exactly how the nail polish smelled too- sour, like chemicals, but also sweet in an obscure way. I would shake the nail polish bottles in between coats and listen to the silver balls clink against the glass. Once they'd dry, I'd climb into my sleeping bag that was laid out on her fuschia colored carpet and fall asleep.