It doesn’t matter whether you’re eating Italian, Mexican, Asian, or even Polish, it’s about the authenticity of the food. I grew up in a very traditional/ethnic home. I learned the importance of preparing food that is both true to the culture and delicious. While I am no culinary master, I do believe in traditions and authenticity.
My mother was Italian (Sicilian to be exact), and my father Polish. I am not a chef, but I love to cook and I appreciate great made-from-scratch food. Many of my favorite dishes are rooted in my upbringing. I remember incorporating old world family recipes into holiday dinners. Stuffed Cabbage was a side dish at Thanksgiving. Lasagna was served on Christmas Eve. Chrusciki (a sweet, crispy, deep-fried Polish pastry, sprinkled with powdered sugar) was Christmas dessert. Kielbasa (Polish sausage) was an appetizer at Easter, while Cannoli were the dessert.
These table additions made me who I am today. Making or eating Chrusciki always reminds me of my grandmother. I remember rolling out the dough as a little girl, watching her cut it into strips. I would “pinch” the pieces into ribbons before she would fry them. When they were done, I sprinkled the powdered sugar on (the more the better).
It is now my turn to keep the traditions alive, while starting new ones with my family. I may not be a classically trained chef, but my background taught me the importance of authenticity and tradition. Nothing beats the real thing.