Family and Food
Last week my parents were in town. It was the first time I was able to see them in over a year and a half, besides a virtual chat of course. Obviously I love when I get to see my parents because it means that there will be food and drinks aplenty. And yes spending time with them, catching up, and doing all the things parents and children do. But from day one to the last day of their trip, lunches, dinners, and get togethers were planned. Between the going out and homemade meals, it was abundantly clear how deep the tie between my family and food is.
You may know how linked we are to bread and baking (it has been our business for over 50 years after all), but I thought I’d share more about our family and our connection to food. Please forgive me for getting sentimental.
I’m not going to count myself here, but every member of my family is an expert (officially or not) in food in some way or another. My mom cooked nearly every meal every day of the week while I was growing up, and there wasn’t a single one that was lacking in flavour. If I were to say otherwise I might not see her again. My Uncle Trent, the owner of Scratch Provisions, is a red seal chef who I think could win any cooking show on TV. My Aunt Tracey, as you all know, is an award winning baker who helped bring artisanal baking to the prairies. She was also a member of Team Canada for World Cup of Baking, or the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie for the more serious bread bakers. Blair, my uncle, is just as talented and has designed every meal that has made its way onto our menu. His partner, Jen, seems to always be cooking something whenever I come over to their house. The two of them take pride in providing delicious dinner for a family of over 10 members. My Nona has to fight them to host family dinners, and it’s never disappointing when we come over; it usually leads to everyone reminiscing about meals she’d cook up back in the day. I can’t forget about my Papa, who was the family baker before Blair and Tracey took over. And then there’s me, who gets to reap all the benefits of coming from such a talented family.
We Go Big, Even if We’re Home
Anyone that’s been to a Muzzolini party or dinner knows that we go big. Whether it’s a party at our Broadway location or a house gathering, you know there will be loads of food and plenty of beverages. If you leave hungry it means you made a mistake because you didn’t eat enough. In short, we know how to have a good time. We’ve had lasagna competitions, taco bars, and midnight weenie roasts, just to name a few of our food gatherings. Every time I leave I’m taking leftovers that’ll last for days. To be honest, for the amount of food we make, we deserve an award for how little is wasted. On Thursday, we had a birthday party for my dad (Happy Birthday Big Russ!) and dinner consisted of lasagnas. Yes, lasagnas. Plural. Not just that, there was apple crisp and ice cream for dessert. Even though I had a flag football game after, I still stuffed myself with enough food to make the game more challenging due to the internal enemies I was fighting. If you ever join us for dinner you only need to bring two things: an empty stomach and a hungry mouth.
Memories, Memories, Memories
I don’t know if I made it clear, but we cook and consume A LOT of food. This means that it is still being prepared in the kitchen by the time everyone arrives. That’s where the fun starts. While the kiddos run around, everyone else gathers in the kitchen to “help” the cook by keeping them company. After all, who wants to be lonely when getting dinner ready for 10 hungry Italians? With drinks in hand and conversations to be had the gathering officially begins. When the table is set we pause our talks to raise a glass and toast to being together and being able to enjoy each other’s company and a wonderfully prepared meal, something many tend to take for granted. An important couple notes for cheering glasses: It is imperative for eye contact to be made with the person you are clinking drinks with, and it is utterly important to not cross arms with anyone else reaching across the table. Once that is done it is time to plate up and enjoy all the food. Memories are made and recounted. Between four different generations, there are always plenty of stories to tell and jokes to be made, especially if my parents are in town for a visit. When I end up eating most of my dinners on the couch or in front of the TV, it is such a welcomed change to be surrounded by family every once in a while.
I know that my family situation is a very unique one. After all, we spend nearly every moment with each other at the bakery and still have things to talk about at dinner that aren’t just business related. It is also amazing to have so many talented cooks and bakers in our family because it means I’ll never go hungry.