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Old 05-12-2014, 01:18 PM
 
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I think most people today would be very surprised what old time Italian (peasant) cooking really was. Garlic? Absolutely! Grarlic hung from the ceiling in Grandma's kitchen, and she used it in everything. Of course, she made all her pasta from scratch (without a machine). She dried the spaghetti on a clothesline across the kitchen.

However, most meals during the week were VEGETARIAN. Meat was for Sundays. Lasagna? Ravioli? That was for big family gathering on Holidays. NEVER had those other times. Cream sauces? What was that???

Grandma never met a bean she didn't like. Not canned beans, but she cooked dried beans. Same with veggies; no cans or frozen. She made a lot of soups with beans, small pasta, and fresh, WEIRD veggies. Her favorite was Dandilion Soup with ceci beans and little pasta. No meat broth. The soup broth came from the veggies and the beans. There wear many cominations of veggies and beans she made soup from. I stopped very young telling teachers and other kids what I ate for dinner. Once in a while she might make her own PIZZA!!! Yummy.

Omeletes were the same. I never had bacon, or pancetta, with eggs. She put potatoes, veggies, and again, beans in those omletes. She also baked all her own breads, and put many different herbs, and peppercorns, in them.

Nope, not your chain restaurant Italian menu.
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Old 05-12-2014, 03:23 PM
 
Location: Currently living in Reddit
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If you're over 40, odds are very good your immigrant grandparents ate a lot of weeds regardless what country they were living in at the time. And now those weeds are >$4.00/lb at many markets :-)
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Old 05-12-2014, 08:07 PM
 
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Jo48 I do understand what you are saying. I am more familiar with Southern Italian cooking and most of
our grandmothers and moms didn't have to work outside the home and were frugal. Meat was used
occasionally (needed it for the Italian gravy) Most restaurants where I grew up in Chicago had dozens
of Southern Italian restaurants owned and run by Italian families. This was peasant food and
today these type of places are very hard to find (most are chains like Maggiano's and are too
pricey for pasta?). Fish was also used and it was affordable. What I miss the most
is the baked clams, a choice of pastas with gravy, a good minestrone and the old Italian bakeries.
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Old 05-13-2014, 01:41 AM
 
Location: Philaburbia
31,218 posts, read 57,353,566 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jo48 View Post
I think most people today would be very surprised what old time Italian (peasant) cooking really was. Garlic? Absolutely! Grarlic hung from the ceiling in Grandma's kitchen, and she used it in everything.
My Italian grandmother did not. She'd rub a cut clove on a salad bowl or cook her sauces with a garlic clove but discarded the clove before serving. I guess she wasn't crazy about strong garlic flavors.

Quote:
Of course, she made all her pasta from scratch (without a machine). She dried the spaghetti on a clothesline across the kitchen.
Gram dried her fettucine on the back of the kitchen chairs. If she was making capelletti (to die for!), ravioli, or some similar shape, she had this huge array of racks she'd haul out to dry the noodles.

Quote:
Once in a while she might make her own PIZZA!!! Yummy.
My gram made the best pizza - bread dough, olive oil, hunks of fresh tomato, a little oregano, and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Quote:
Originally Posted by baileyvpotter View Post
Meat was used occasionally
My grandmother used meat and fish quite a lot (not on Fridays, when my mom said their dinners were just as good if not better than dinners with meat). She had chickens in her backyard, both laying hens and chickens to be eaten. She used to tell stories about thinking she'd killed the chicken, but found out after dipping it in boiling water to remove the feathers that it wasn't quite dead yet. My uncles went hunting and fishing, coming home with rabbit, pheasant, trout, etc. even turkeys. They ate a lot of rabbit.
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Old 05-13-2014, 07:43 PM
 
Location: Western Oregon
1,379 posts, read 1,227,052 times
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I think Italian food has a lot of regional variation, and even if you know one area's cuisine very well, there are many others. That's true in India, where I grew up.
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