For those of you who don’t know, I’m doing a creative writing degree at the moment. Every week for our ‘Genre’ subject I have to do a short written exercise and this week’s was on food. I’ve written a kind of food memoir, I suppose you’d call it, and it’s the first really personal thing I’ve posted on here. Hope it doesn’t bore you.
My Nonna kneads the dough, stopping every now and then to sprinkle some flour on the orange kitchen bench. My sister and I watch enthralled, from our positions on two stools, as we are too short to stand and clearly see what magic is being conjured in my grandmother’s domain.
When the dough is rolled flat and round, she places it on an oiled, silver coloured pizza tray, pockmarked from years of service – the symbol of many family dinners where the excitement started as soon as the cheesy, tomato aroma escaped the oven.
When I sprinkle oregano on my dough, cover it with peeled tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and slivers of anchovies, I am thinking of my Nonna and how much I miss her. When the pizza comes out of the oven, the taste is heavenly but it never seems as good as hers, and I miss her even more. At these times I wish I could knead my memories and sprinkle on my nostalgia, generously layering on my love for her, as if this would be enough to bring her back. When I take my pizza out of the oven it is like she is there, smiling that I have remembered something of her, but it is fleeting and is gone too quickly – just like her pizza when I was around.