I may have expressed a fondness for the Mo Rocca show on the Cooking Channel “My Grandmother’s Ravioli”. I love it – beyond love. It is a look at the grandparents who came to this country from foreign lands, bringing with them the recipes from generations of Irish grandmoms, Italian grandmoms, Jewish and Russian grandmoms.
I am always touched by this show. I am smiling, thinking of my own grandmothers and their recipes. Both of them were Irish, and while there weren’t elaborate meals, there was stick to your ribs soups and stews, Irish soda bread, pudding cakes – everything made with the love of generations.
This past weekend, the grandmom came from Thailand. She grew up in poverty, but came to this country filled with hope, optimism, and a determination for a better life.
And when Mo asked her, all these many years and American experiences later, what she thought when she came to this country, her face lightened and brightened. A smile poured across her face like maple syrup over pancakes – slow and sweet. And with the joy of a thousand Christmases, she exclaimed, “It was WONDERFUL here!”
And you know she still believes it; it IS wonderful here – you could read it in her happy eyes and joyous face. Most of us will never know or never experience the things that some of our grandparents knew and lived through. We will never know hunger so great or poverty so desperate or intolerance for beliefs so oppressive. But we can know how much it meant for our grandparents to get here, find a better life, and hold onto the traditions and the foods that will help us remember where our lives – our histories – began.
I love this show – one that could only have been made here in America.