As we gear up to Mother’s Day, we have been thinking a lot about maternal influences in the kitchen.
My sister-in-law, Breanna, is one of the women in my family that I admire in the kitchen. Seeing the influence from her mother and grandmother, and cooking side by side with our extended family, gets me inspired. Lucky for us, she just started her own food blog, Chef Bre’s Kitchen!
What does family mean to you in terms of influence in the kitchen?
I come from a big Italian family where everything revolved around food. The kitchen was always the center of our home.
Growing up, my cousins and I spent a lot of time at my Grandparents’ house, where I would sit in the kitchen and watch my Nonna cook. My Nonna actually had two kitchens; one for hosting company and one for cooking. She was always cooking and had such a passion for it. Learning her recipes wasn’t easy because there were no recipes. She just cooked from the heart and measured ingredients off feeling. It was just natural and intuitive for her.
I loved watching her cook while listening to her tell stories about growing up in Italy. A lot of what she cooked was the food she grew up eating. Italian food is so nostalgic to me which is probably why it’s my favorite thing to cook. It just tastes like home. Our family holidays and get togethers consisted of too many people to count and the thought was always “the more the merrier!” I too have that same mentality. I absolutely love hosting family and friends at our house for dinners and holidays. Just like my Nonna, I believe that I show my love through cooking.
What are some of your favorite memories attached to food growing up?
Growing up, most of my favorite memories happened around the kitchen table surrounded by family and good food. It was where the best conversations, moments and laughs occurred. To this day, any time my family gets together, it’s a party. But there are certain foods that bring me right back to my childhood.
When I was in grade school, my Mom somehow managed to always have homemade chocolate chip cookies in the cookie jar. My brothers and I had cookies and milk pretty much everyday after school. Coming home to a house that smelled of freshly baked cookies was the best thing ever.
So many of my favorite memories came from my Grandparents’ house. My Nonna made my Grandpa the same salad every single day for lunch in the same wood salad bowl. I was very young and didn’t even like salad, but I would sit on his lap and eat with him. It was just lettuce, lemon and vinegar with sourdough bread on the side for dipping. It was simple yet delicious.
My Nonna is most known for her meatballs. I used to love watching her make them. Her meatballs were famous among our friends and teachers at school. At school pot lucks and parties, people would always request that we bring my Nonna’s meatballs. She used to make them by the hundred. Whenever I was home from college, she would send me with 10 containers full of frozen meatballs to bring back with me to San Diego. No one ever went hungry around my Nonna. Her famous words were “Mangia, mangia!”
What have you learned from your mom in the kitchen?
My Mom is truly the best baker I’ve ever met. Watching her bake is incredible because she is such a pro and makes it look completely effortless. She bakes anything and everything.
She taught me how to make chocolate chip cookies when I was 7 years old and she’s been teaching me recipes ever since. I learned that baking is scientific and it’s important to be meticulous when following a recipe. My Mom is so organized in the kitchen which is why she makes baking look so easy.
What ARGAUX wine is your fav of the moment?
My husband and I are huge Sauvignon Blanc people, so our wine fridge always has a great selection of different whites. Thanks to Arguax, we are constantly finding new wines that we love and learning what dishes to pair them with. We just got our ARGAUX shipment last week and we are LOVING the Sea Pearl! It is so light and refreshing and perfect for summer!
Thank you to Breanna for sharing her stories, and inspiring us for Mother’s day!
Cheers from your Pocket Somms! – Margaux