An Italian mamma in the kitchen

When I was young I used to love travelling. Nothing else would excite me more than getting to know different cultures and languages and trying all sorts of different foods.

It was all very good and I didn’t miss my family too much but I really craved for my mamma’s minestrone! That was a serious issue as I remember continuously day dreaming about having spoonfuls of minestrone with all those chunky and flavourful pieces of vegetable fresh from the garden, the thick maltagliati and rustic pasta she used to add and those fat and chubby borlotti beans… gosh how could you beat that?

And this is how they hook you, you know. Mamma knows only too well that you cannot possibly manage without their home cooked goodness. So it is a clever way of keeping you close. And Italians are always ruled by their pancia (stomachs)!

Italian mamma

And I was certainly not the only one as many Italian children always look forward to going back home for their mamma’s food. Because in Italy la mamma is la mamma! She is the core of the family. They say it is the mamma that keeps the entire family together.

Although life has changed and many women go back to work these days and cannot spend all their time cooking, taking time to prepare a decent meal and sitting all together at the table is still a very important and much valued part of Italian life.

making passata - tomato sauce  in Calabria

From adults to bambini, they all eat together (and strictly the same foods!) and learning to feed a family is considered a skill and a passion that is passed down from generation to generation. And food is no laughing matter. Italians take their food seriously, very seriously! So be careful when you say what lasagne should be made of!

An Italian mum never sees cooking as a plain boring job to feed the family. All her feelings, love, passion and experiences go into the food itself so she becomes part of the recipe and this is what happens when food is made with love. I remember that my mamma’s minestrone tasted of mamma!

Mamma knows that beautiful and healthy food will result in her children growing healthy and strong. And if that is not important than what else could be in life? We all want the best for our children and cooking for them is one of the greatest ways to show that we care and love them.

I grew up watching my mum constantly washing, scraping vegetables. She would be up at the crack of dawn to dig vegetables in the field and then prepare them. The table would always be full of muddy fresh vegetables from the field. I used to think: “she is mad I would never do that! I’d rather do something else with my life!” And here I am today doing just the same! It must be in the Italian genes.

Freshly dug potatoes

Freshly dug potatoes

Vegetables were everywhere and many would end up in soups or minestroni. Nothing could beat a freshly made soup made by mamma. Meals are usually uncomplicated and simple dishes are put together with care and love. Her reward is when every plate is wiped clean and every stomach is satisfied. Nothing can beat that!

Right from the field: fresh green beans and eggplant

Right from the field: fresh green beans and eggplant

Everything turned into this fabulous rustic green bean soup full of goodness. Healthy and refreshing, I could eat this every day πŸ™‚

Italian Vegetable Soup


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11 Responses to An Italian mamma in the kitchen

  1. Louise

    What a lovely tribute to Mammas everywhere, Alida especially those Italian kind, lol…I must say, my mother wasn’t as fond of going out to the garden and digging up the evening dinner but, I had an Aunt who did! She was my mother’s older sister and often complained that my mother was spoiled, lol…So funny hearing those loud arguments as a child, lol…She made a “mean Minestrone Soup” too and we loved it!

    Thank you so much for sharing such a heart felt post, Alida…

    • Alida

      Ah! How funny that she made a “mean minestrone!. I know what you mean though. Some people just cannot stand cooking at all. The world is funny because is varied. It would be boring if we were all the same! lol πŸ™‚

  2. la cucina di Molly

    …e giΓ  la mamma Γ¨ sempre la mamma! Ma Γ¨ la tua mamma? che bella signora, complimenti! Buonissimo il minestrone, immagino il profumino! Un bacione e felice weekend!

  3. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dear Alida,
    Beautiful words about your mama and all mama’s everywhere. Everything you have written is so true and I had tears in my eyes as I was thinking about mothers and family, especially in the Italian world. They really knew how to keep everyone together with food and without food. When I was young we all sat down at the table together and like you said we all ate the same food that my mother made. I did not have the pleasure like you to have grown the veggies in a garden, but I do remember learning how to shop for the best quality of food in the grocery store. (living in a big city) I remember when I lived upstate and come home for visits, my mom would always say what foods are you craving, and she would make them for me or my brothers. Still to this day she will always “hook” us to come over for dinner with incredible meals to be enjoyed! Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories. Have a fabulous weekend.
    Dottie πŸ™‚

    • Alida

      Oh Dottie. You can never forget a good mum really. And you are the same for your son too! xxxx

  4. Angie@Angie's Recipes

    Such a sweet and lovely tribute to your mom, Alida. I had never tried cooking anything when I lived with my mom as she always had everything ready on the table for us. Well, I actually wasn’t interested in cooking at all. If my husband could cook (he did try without much success), I wouldn’t even have learned to cook.
    Thanks for sharing, Alida.

    • Alida

      And now you are a fabulous baker and cook Angie. Maybe watching mum cooking when you were younger must have helped! πŸ˜‰

  5. Alida

    I can certainly agree with you! πŸ˜‰

  6. gloria

    aww Love this post!!

  7. Mama and More aka Zaz

    I loved this post – it is so full of love, love for good food, for life (because one cannot exist without the other!) and for the role of the Mamma! Just my cup of tea – of bowl of minestrone. I would love to invite you to come and link up to my All About You link up every Tuesday with this beautiful post – and any others you fancy.

    By the way, I discovered your blog via your comment on Running In Lavender – you have a beautiful name, which is also the same as my youngest sister who was staying with me until this morning, so I thought it was fate!

    • Alida

      Thank you for your kind comments. It is true, loving good food means loving life too. They go hand in hand because good food makes you feel better and healthier. I will certainly come and see you on Tuesday!

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