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My Food Hero Is...
my father, Eric
My father, Eric, grew up on his family’s homestead in Calabria, Italy. His family grew what they ate and appreciated the value of hard work and celebrating by eating as a family. My Dad tells us the story about how he saved up for a month for a piece of veal (a very expensive cut of meat). When he finally saved up enough money and bought the veal, he shared it with his entire family. With five other siblings, he hardly got to try the long-anticipated piece of veal.
Growing up, my father worked really hard during the week running his own company, however, he still woke up early on weekends with great enthusiasm to cook us a big breakfast. He continued the traditions he brought from Italy like making his own wine, charcuterie, pickled vegetables and more. As a child, I never understood or appreciated the value of these traditions like I do today.
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.
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!
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