I couldn’t have been more than ten or eleven years old. It was a hot, Summer afternoon and I decided to cool off by taking a swim in the river that ran down the hill from our home. The water was cold and my dog jumped in to splash around with me. After a while I grabbed my towel and headed back up to the house. I knew that dinner would be ready soon.
I walked in through the enclosed back porch built right off the kitchen. When I peeked into it I saw my short, stout, sweaty Nana busy cooking. Two freshly baked loaves of Italian bread had just been pulled from the oven and were cooling on the counter. They smelled heavenly. A pot of water was slowly building to a boil and a batch of pasta was sitting next to it ready to go in. My Nana, however, was concentrating on her special sauce. It had been slowly simmering for hours. Potatoes, pieces of chicken, and meatballs had been quietly cooking in it as well. Nana took a wooden spoon, stirred the sauce and brought up a bit for a taste. She made a face and shook her head. Something wasn’t quite right. She reached over to her spices. First she sprinkled in a pinch of salt. Then she shook in a little more garlic powder. She slowly stirred the sauce for a while longer humming to herself while I watched unnoticed behind her. Then she took another taste. This time her smile widened and she nodded her approval of her creation. I smiled too. I knew it was going to be another delicious dinner.
Looking back I think Nana was such a great cook because she not only seasoned her food with the right spices but also seasoned it with her love. She seasoned her whole life with that love and gave so much joy to others. She was a true chef when it came to cooking and truly wise when it came to living. I still miss her every single day and I am so thankful for all the lessons she taught me.
Life is so much better when you season it with love. Life is so much happier when you flavor it with kindness. Life is so much tastier when you prepare it with joy. Be the chef of your own life then. Create a Heavenly feast that God would be proud of. Then invite everyone you know to the table.
Joseph J. Mazzella