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Sweet Traditions Sprinkled With Love

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At a very young age I could detect the distinct scents coming from the kitchen. Escaping from the stove and barging into my room, mouth-watering scents sent me running for the kitchen. With an immense Italian family consisting of experienced and skilled chefs, holiday meals were delectable, filling the house with various aromas.

Of all the recipes consuming our overflowing blue recipe box, one always made me run to the kitchen to help. Struffolis are fried dough covered in warm honey and dot sprinkles, rainbow of course. Struffoli is Italian for “honey balls,” which was much easier to say as children and has since stuck with us. Although they were incredibly easy to make, the love and attention my grandmother put into them seemed to make them even more delicious and desirable.

With butter knifes in hand, my cousins, siblings and I would assist my grandmother in rolling the dough into worm-like shapes and cutting small squares. Once we conquered all of the dough, my grandmother would put the squares into the fryer until they were golden brown. We watched eagerly as the oil bubbled and our stomachs growled.

With honey on the stove and half of the sprinkles already devoured, we waited anxiously for the Struffolis to cool off. Once they met my grandmother’s criteria we drenched each golden brown ball in warm honey and emptied multiple sprinkle containers to complete the classic dish.

Looking at what we had accomplished only captured our attention for a few moments until we begged to taste them. Practically inhaling the honey balls, our eagerness and excitement often left us with belly aches. Once the overeating discomfort subsided, our little sticky fingers left remnants of honey wherever we played. The fridge housed multiple containers filled with extras, which were just as delicious cold.

As we grew older we graduated from butter knives to pizza cutters and were given more responsibilities. Becoming teenagers, we learned more family recipes, as the adults passed down family traditions to our generation. Now that we are young adults, we can see the value in growing up around the kitchen, sparking our love for cooking with the baking of honey balls. The recipes we have learned and memories of baking together are more valuable than any expensive heirloom. Once we are adults with our own families, we are confident we will continue teaching the younger generation traditional family recipes to continue the legacy.



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