I made meatballs today. Homemade, real Italian, authentic meatballs.
I felt nostalgic like I always do when I make meatballs.
It’s a really long process for me. I have to take my time, getting all the different ingredients, lining them up on our dining room table. setting out the mixing bowl, the cutting board, the pan for the cooking. Double check to make sure I have everything I need.
And then I rest. Today I laid down and watched a TV episode while I recuperated from my meatball setup.
Then I start the meatballs. Chopping the onions, cracking the eggs, smashing the meat together with the herbs, garlic and breadcrumbs. This is a long process. It usually takes an hour before I’m even ready to roll them up in my hands.
I don’t know why meatballs make me feel nostalgic. I have no memory of eating them when I was a child. My mother didn’t keep me by her side in the kitchen while she handed down her family recipe. Or at least not that I remember. I have no recollection at all of when or where I actually learned how to make meatballs. My mother, while a great cook, did not teach me her skills. I mostly taught myself.
My mother is Italian. Or as close to Italian as a 3rd generation American can get now a days I guess. My great grandmother came over here from Italy. My mother was raised in an all Italian town in Upstate New York. She’d never seen a taco until she met my dad and he whisked her away to the various military bases he was assigned to.
So I feel very Italian even though I barely qualify as such. Food has always held a cherished place in my heart. Especially Italian food. And especially meatballs.
There’s just something about the aroma and rolling every individual meatball and simmering them in the sauce until your whole house smells heavenly, that makes me feel peaceful.
At least it usually does. Today it almost worked. Today I almost found my meatball heaven. But I was so tired. I had to stop and rest more times than I usually do. And when I got to the simmering part, something insignificant happened that made me mad and I started drinking. I’ve been doing that lately. Drinking to avoid being uncomfortable. In the end, dinner was great. The effort was monumental but I am quite a good cook when I can remember how to be.
But my shimmering meatball heaven never materialized. Sometimes I feel like nostalgia isn’t what it used to be.