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Cooking for Nonna
My 13 year old brother and I danced around each other in the kitchen. I rushed from the stove to the refrigerator, and my brother from the fridge to the stove. We were rushing to cook dinner for our blind Nonna.
Nonna let us spend the summer at her house, teaching my brother, Tony and I how to cook. My father (Nonna’s son) was tired of us complaining about the bland food my mother cooked. “If you two boys don’t want to eat it, then make it yourself.” And so, he sent us to his mother.
“Marco,” she hollered, with her thick Italian accent. “I smell something burning. Did you leave the risotto on the stove?”
I turned around and saw that the burner was set to high, rather than simmer. I removed the lid and saw that the rice was slightly darker, but not burned.
“Nonna, nothing is actually burnt. It’s only slightly overdone.”
“Peh,” she spat. “Make a new dish.”
“But that’s going to take a while! I’m not even done with the pasta!”
“You must learn to do it properly. I may be hungry, but I have all the time in the world.”
“I’ll cook the risotto if you want,” he whispered.
“I may be blind, but I’m not deaf.” Nonna said, loudly.
Tony and I turned around and saw Nonna, less than a foot away from us.
She was squinting and leaning on her hand crafted, wood cane.
“What are you standing around for? Marco, there is rice in the cellar. Tony, is the chicken warm?”
There was never a moment to breathe when Nonna was around. Tony and I danced around each other, once again. When I arrived to the cellar, I shouted to my grandmother, if she wanted wine.
“Bring up the oldest Pinot Noir.”
I scrambled up the steps, just in time to rescue Tony’s overflowing sauce. Nonna didn’t have to say anything that time.
“Boys,” she laughed. “Who wants pizza?”