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Maven Moment: A Garden for Grandma Rose

Maven Moment: A Garden for Grandma Rose

The garden that Grandpa Sal and Grandma Rose had in Queens was a sight to see! There were two fig trees, a raspberry bush, and all of the vegetables that Grandpa started including tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, basil, and long Indian squash that hung from the garage roof. That changed after Grandpa Sal died and Grandma developed Alzheimer’s. Although we tended […]

Maven Moment: Recycling Day

Maven Moment: Recycling Day

I remember my mother’s reaction when recycling became mandatory in New York City in 1989. “What!? I have to separate garbage now? Oh, what a pain!” And when my mother-in-law Lucy learned that not only did she have to separate her recyclables, she had to clean out jars and cans, too, she was very upset. “I refuse to wash garbage!” […]

Maven Moment: Salvaging Cooking Mishaps

Maven Moment: Salvaging Cooking Mishaps

I don’t recall my mother or grandmother ever ruining a meal. They avoiding cooking mishaps by “minding the stove,” as Mom’s friend Louise used to say, and by following the same, familiar recipes and using the same kitchen equipment. On the other hand, I always have fun experimenting with new flavors and devices when I cook. But when I first […]

Maven Moment: Sunshine and Fresh Air

Maven Moment: Sunshine and Fresh Air

My grandma’s favorite month was June. Her rose bushes were in full bloom and the strawberries were juicy and sweet. Plus, the days were long and warm but not oppressively hot like July and August. It was the perfect time of year to take full advantage of the sunshine and fresh air. But she wasn’t just enjoying the health benefits […]

Maven Moment: Flowers for Your Soul

Maven Moment: Flowers for Your Soul

For the first time in a long time, I am growing plants from seeds. Like my grandpa’s garden in the porch, I have started lots of seedlings indoors this year — both veggies and flowers. Some of my seeds may grow and some may not, but it sure is interesting to see what works. So far, my sweet peppers, broccoli, […]

Maven Moment: Easter Food Traditions

Maven Moment: Easter Food Traditions

One of my strongest childhood memories is the celebration of the Easter season. For my family, it lasted from Ash Wednesday through Lent and ended on Easter Sunday. My favorite part of the holiday was Grandma’s cooking and baking. She made mouthwatering homemade pasta and dried it on the beds on top of linen tablecloths before it was cooked. (And […]

Maven Moment: Using the Freezer for Easy Meals

Maven Moment: Using the Freezer for Easy Meals

Mom made good use of her freezer. She purchased food in bulk, which saved her money. Any food she didn’t immediately use, she wrapped up and popped in the freezer for future meals. And even without labels, Mom always knew exactly what was in those frozen packets. Even as I got older and moved away from home,  Mom always made […]

Maven Moment: Hey, That Food Is Still Good!

Maven Moment: Hey, That Food Is Still Good!

I was very disappointed yesterday to find that some potatoes I bought, although they looked good on the outside, had big, spoiled spots on the inside. But I didn’t throw them out; they still had some good parts. I laughed, remembering how Mom would declare, “Hey, that’s still good!” as she carefully cut out the spoiled bits. Sure, the potato […]

Maven Moment: Go Play Outside!

Maven Moment: Go Play Outside!

I can still hear my mother and grandmother telling my sister and me, “Go play outside!” We didn’t have to be told twice. My sister and I dressed for the weather and we were ready for anything. We might play jump rope, hopscotch, stoop ball, hide-and-seek, or tag with any friends who showed up. It was unstructured, unsupervised fun in […]

Maven Moment: Warming Winter Soups

Maven Moment: Warming Winter Soups

The winter is a wonderful time to make soup. Soup is so warm and nourishing after the excesses of the holidays. My family has always started eating winter soups early in the season with turkey soup made from the bones of the Thanksgiving turkey. Next, came the tradition of eating tortellini en brodo (tortellini in broth) on the day after […]

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