I have always gone to one of my favorite cookbooks for good soups. The Art of Italian Cooking by Maria Lo Pinto is my favorite. If you love Italian cooking, this is one of the best there is. I learned this from my Mom. She had the book before I did.
Look inside of her old edition of the same book....
This is one page on making Rice Torta. It's incredible!
There are pages upon pages of copious notes and revisions. There are even letters from my grandmother on how to make Gnocchi and Risotto Milanaise.
Seeing my grandma's handwritting brings back so many memories.
Grandma writes about the Risotto, "Italian way, add little broth. Keep it bubbly. As soon as absorbed add a little more, about a ladle and so on until cooked. Don't let it get soft. Add some cheese and serve."
The letter with the Gnocchi recipe in it says Gnocchi.. a la Grandma Fracchia.(That was her sister.) Then she says something about potatoes being salted and putting salt in the flour. She thinks it's too much salt so Mom should be careful. The "directions are not very plain". These are not recipes that have been written down before, if ever. These are recipes that have been told to someone for many generations. Recipes that you had to learn by watching someone put them together. Grandma says "Jo gave me this [recipe]." Jo was my great aunt. Her sister. They got along with each other and my grandma didn't get along with everyone.
So I made Lentil soup tonight.
I remember the way she smelled, too..... like a mix of perfume, Cody face powder, dampness, celery and garlic.... and I remember her telling me to" Stir the soup.", or whatever was in the pot on the wood stove. She would sit down and rest while I stirred.
So, after I put the bread on the counter, I went over to my Lentil soup and I stirred the soup.
The memories were like tears.... the smell of soup cooking in my kitchen took me to all the kitchens of my childhood.
And look what else I found in my mom's cookbook....
Time for dinner. Got to go stir the soup and slice some bread.....