Generations of Tradition
In our Italian family, homemade pasta is #1 in family traditions. Every holiday, every gathering, every random dinner night, you will most likely find pasta. This tradition goes back generations and everyone is known for their specialty; Theresa Marie’s Ravioli, Uncle Vito’s Lasagna, Uncle Tony’s sauce, and they each wear their title like a badge of honor.
Our family takes pride in passing the pasta machine down the family tree but as our fast-paced lives progress many things take us out of the kitchen. Traditions become memories and stories of generations past and family techniques, inadvertently, become lost.
My great-grandma was the matriarch of the family. There was a time when all pasta was made by hand. For Marie, they made pasta because they couldn't afford to buy pasta from the store. My earliest memory of my great-grandma was running into her kitchen to find noodles hanging from wooden sticks. They filled the kitchen like a forest of weeping willow noodle branches. I would crawl under them and stare up into the noodles. 6-year-old me thought it was the most beautiful and magical thing in the world. Today if I close my eyes, that memory is just as vibrant.
My grandma, Tina, making pasta was expressing her love. She was the epicenter for her many siblings, cousins, nieces, and nephews. Whenever I was with my grandma we were always in the kitchen because she was always in the kitchen. She would share techniques and memories of her own mom and her grandma. The process of making homemade noodles is such a powerful memory. As a child I felt like a grown-up and important when I was included in the making of the noodles. It was like a rite of passage. To this day, I feel her with me when I am making homemade pasta noodles.
For my mother, it became a family tradition. Everyone wanted to be at Aunt Theresa Marie's for homemade noodles, homemade lasagna, homemade ravioli, and homemade gnocchi. Weeks before Christmas we would plan "the noodle-making day". We would make as many as, 400 ravioli, 30 pounds of pasta noodles, 50 single sheets of lasagna, and 5 pounds of gnocchi. When it was “noodle-making day” it didn’t matter your age or who you belonged to ALL HANDS ON DECK!! The flour-covered table was long and the pasta was fast and furious. Memories♥♥♥
Tradition continues. Food is our love language. We make the noodles together, we sit together, and we eat together. This is Love♥ Just like I did, my kids cherish the hours of making noodles. The grandkids, great-grandkids, nieces, and nephews all took part in making the noodles. You don't go outside and play when grandma says the noodles need to be made, you sit right next to her, crank the pasta machine, play in the flour, and you make the noodles. This is serious. You don’t want to make Malefatta. (bad actions/wrongdoing)
An Art and a science. The traditional technique of making homemade noodles pays close attention to the type of flour you select, the weight of the egg, the temperature of the room, the moisture in the dough, the amount of time you handle the dough, and the most important part; the thickness of the dough.
Ingredients are the same as dried pasta, but the taste is better and the texture is better. If it's homemade, according to tradition, it's full of love.
For centuries our family has put their heart, their soul, and their heritage into the noodles, and now I share this experience first hand, literally, with you!