From the Heart

those beans

One of the very best things I did this week, one of the best moments of my life, was to call my beloved Grandma on Wednesday evening. I called to tell her that her name, and my recipe that was inspired by a dish that she has made countless times over the course of her 89 years, a humble pot of beans, no less, was featured in the New York Times. Those beans, those beans that I *had* to figure out how to make for myself years ago, those beans that she makes as effortlessly as breathing, no measuring, like all of her beloved dishes, they just come together, perfectly, every single time. My spin on my Grandma’s borrachos, with her name-checked as inspiration, is in the New. York. Times.

singing to Chela

When I ask my Marina in person (way, WAY not often enough), or on the phone (also not often enough), how she makes X, or Y, or Z, there are never measurements. It’s just How We Cook. Handfuls and pinches, and “a leetle beet” – “everybody’s hands are different,” she always, always says. She is WHY I cook, she is my star, she is my heart, and if you could have heard how this amazing 89 year old woman giggled when I gave her the news that these beans, OUR beans, hit the big time, it would have made your heart grow about three sizes. And then melt. It did mine.

So check out this awesome interactive feature which highlights not just our beans, but 19 other amazing potluck-friendly recipes curated by (food52 Team Awesome) Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs. And if you live in Providence, don’t be surprised if you can’t find a copy of the Sunday NYT – Amanda’s got an incredible piece in the Magazine about her new book, and WOW, I’m in that piece too, and Mike and I will be up bright and early tomorrow to buy up copies of the paper to send to our people back home. Most importantly, to my Grandma Marina, mi Abuela, my heart, my biggest inspiration.

14 thoughts on “From the Heart

  1. Jeepers, it’s 7:30am and I’m CRYING already. Love this story. You know I love your borrachos, now a staple in our house. And now I love your Abuela, too. xoCathy

  2. I with my grandma was still alive so I could figure out how to make her fudge. My mom can’t even do it. I’ve only tried once, and didn’t get it right. I figure I’ll keep trying until I get it right. So glad your grandma is around to share in your accomplishment!

  3. Molly Lamarche says:

    Wow- I have tears running down my cheeks. I, too, learned to cook —and especially bake—- from my dear Italian Grandma, Rose. She died the week I got engaged in 1998. I have spent at least 20 years trying to re-create and then perfect her family-famous Anise cookies. While sitting in a cafe in Italy 10 days ago I burst into tears when our chef brought complimentary Anise cookies to the table – just like Grandma Rosie’s! I would give anything to be able to pick up the phone and share exciting news with her. Congratulations to you!

  4. Nancy says:

    I was blown away by the recipe when I read it, and I am making it right now!! Thank you so much for sharing!

    happy cooking to you from lower Manhattan!


  5. There is so much happiness in this post, Jen. I am so excited for you (and your grandma)…such well deserved recognition for your awesomeness.

  6. I just printed the recipe from the NYT website. I will be making them tonight. What exciting news for you and a touching tribute to your grandmother!

  7. Christine L. says:

    My nonna is the reason I cook, too. I wish I would have told her so when I had the chance. Congrats, and thank you so much for sharing!

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