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             05 December, 2022

Category:  Articles » Food & Drinks » Cooking Tips


Pots and Pans Can Inspire Dreams #2

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2010-02-24 05:35:05     
Article by Sam Aiello

After I wrote about a daydream I had while looking at a cast iron pot, I started to think that I have been around so much cooking all my life and all the history that goes along with it. That cast iron pot, which belonged to my wife Patti's Gramma is on top of a group of cabinets in our kitchen. It is among memorabilia from her Mom and Dad, my Mom and Dad, her grandparents, my grandparents, our restaurant and from the both of us. It is just beautiful and quite a crowd-pleaser. I look at that pot because it was so special to my wife Patti who passed away suddenly from cancer in 2009. So that pot has special meaning to me now and it makes me think back and day dream. Cast iron cookware was so essential and common in those days

This particular time I was remembering being in my Gramma's old kitchen which was right behind the butcher department in our super market. Butchers and family members constantly going in and out of the swinging door because the big walk in cooler was in the kitchen also and a pot belly stove believe it or not. This particular day I remember sitting on an apple crate at the kitchen table watching Gramma getting two huge stainless or cast iron frying pans and putting them on the stove filled half way with water. She would get two big rings of fresh made Italian sausage and place one ring in each stainless steel frying pan. While that was cooking she would take bruised or partially bad green peppers and clean them cut of all the bad parts and slice up the rest ( the perfect green peppers were for the customers to buy ). She did mounds of these while I watched. When the water would disappear in the frying pans she would turn the rings of sausage until browned. She would take the sausage out and put them on a platter. The crispy frying pans were filled, again, with water about a third of the way and she would stir the crispy bottom of the pans with the water and then add all the green peppers topped with salt and pepper and then covered. They would simmer gently in the savory water until soft and full of flavor from the Italian sausage and seasoning. What an aroma!

While this was all going on Gramma would pour a cup of strong coffee and put lots of cream and sugar in it for me and then give small pieces of fresh Italian bread with butter to dunk in my coffee. She was never too busy to spoil me. Then it was back to the green peppers because they were done and so delicious. She would cut the sausage up in approximately five inch links and put them on a very large baking sheet. She would then cover the sausages with scamorza cheese, the green peppers, mashed stewed tomatoes, basil, oregano, black pepper, a little salt and then top it with Imported Romano Cheese and bake them. The Italian bread was also in the oven getting reheated. Magically she had also prepared pasta con salsa without me noticing it. We had pasta with everything.

Besides constantly making delicious food, most importantly Gramma never wasted anything. Also, everything was usually very healthy. These immigrants from Sicily instinctively ate very healthy. They had reasons for having certain foods and reasons for cooking or preparing them in the way they did.

For Instance:

1. A glass of wine was necessary when having dinner as it helped thin the blood and keep the fat away from the heart.
2. Somehow they knew about cholesterol and clogged arteries which is why they never believed in over doing it with dairy products for young children.
3. The dark outer leaves removed from the heads of lettuce were saved, cleaned and eaten in several different delicious ways as they knew all the nutrition was in the those discarded leaves not the inside of the lettuce which has no nutritional value.
4. If you cut yourself they would disinfect the wound with lemon or salt.

And the list goes on.

But, once again I can't remember anyone cleaning up all the different frying pans, pots and trays she used but it must be in the back of my mind which is probably why, as an adult, I, with my wife, choose non stick cookware because the work my Gramma had in cleaning up must have been traumatic for me which is why I can't remember.

My wife and I owned and operated a Family Italian Restaurant in Chicago for over 30 years. We ate, slept and drank Pots and Pans. The majority of our pots and pans were stainless. We also had some cast iron frying pans and a couple of large sauce pans in cast iron. Mostly all of our roasting pans were enamel and some were stainless as we replaced them. They became a part of our lives along with china, cutlery, silverware just to mention a few. It was a lot of hard work but also very rewarding. So it was just a natural thing my wife and I decided to open a web store selling pots and Pans and more.

Specialized in: Rachael Ray - Paula Deen - Corningware - Corelle - Pyrex
URL: http://www.houseofpans.com
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