Every weekend we try to meet up with my 99 year old grandma to go out for dinner. Sometimes it is a big group of us, other times a small one, like tonight when there were just nine of us. We always laugh because when we ask her where she’d like to go she picks places that you wouldn’t expect a “foodie” to choose.
I call her a “foodie” because she has always been a lady who was passionate about food. She was an amazing cook and always enjoyed the best of the best when it came to dining out. Now, she chooses places like The Olive Garden and California Pizza Kitchen. Not that I think there is anything wrong with those choices. We laugh because this is a lady who enjoyed dining out in fancy, upscale places where we had to dress up for dinner and we ate like royalty.
My grandfather belonged to a small, private, Italian dinner club in the city called Tiro a Segno. It was on MacDougal Street and as kids, we’d take the train into New York City with our mom and grandma every so often to meet up with him and my dad. They were both working on The New York Stock Exchange at the time. We’d get on the subway and take the quick walk through Washington Square to the restaurant. It always felt so private…so special when we went there.
Going out to dinner with my grandparents was always an event. No matter how many of us were joining them, we feasted. I tasted so many delicacies as a child, (some that I won’t ever eat again) that even though I couldn’t speak another language, I had no problem pronouncing the names of the Italian cheeses or meats on the menus. When I met Dave, and he first began joining us for diner, I think it overwhelmed him at first.
When Grammy cooked for all of us, it was always an affair. That is why Christmas Eve dinner is always such a big event. She and her sister, our Aunt Dee, taught us how to prepare it all and we are continuing the tradition for our own families. She doesn’t do the cooking anymore. She directs us though, making sure that we are doing it all the correct way.
So tonight, when we asked her where we should go and she chose California Pizza Kitchen, we went. She certainly still has the appetite that she has always had! She wanted pasta. Her favorite but she made sure that the waiter knew she wanted something spicy. She got her wish and devoured most of it, sharing a few bites with me. I am definitely the grandchild who inherited her love for food! She topped it off with a brownie covered in hot fudge. Grammy never, ever says no to dessert.
Her eyes and legs don’t work like they used to and she may be slowly losing her hearing, but one thing that hasn’t changed is her enthusiasm for food. I am happy to partake in her food adventures no matter where she chooses to go. Mangiamo! Let’s Eat!