Ratatouille 1

We’ll begin with a recreation of the first real dish I ever cooked for myself: ratatouille, which I believe is French for “chop shit up and toss it in a pot.”

It’s a completely idiot-proof meal — at least, the way my family makes it. (If you’re Thomas Keller, not so much.) That may be why my mom suggested I give it a try when I told her, the summer after I graduated college, that I was finally ready to tackle something a little more complicated than scrambled eggs.

The year was 2010; the recipe she sent me, of course, was Nonnie’s. (With an extra soupçon of Mom: She signed the email by saying, “OK, now send me your updated resume . . . . xoxo.”) Continue reading

An introduction

Nonnie on the beach

We called my mother’s mother Nonnie. Not because my family is Italian — we’re basically the Mousekewitzes from An American Tail, give or take a hundred years of assimilation — but because that’s how Queen Victoria had her own grandkids address her.

At least, that’s the story I remember. (A cursory Google reveals that it may, in fact, be total bullshit.) Continue reading