tears in my meatballs

I was all set to do a blog post on how to make my Grandmother’s meatballs.  I had asked her if I could share the recipe on my blog, something that she didn’t completely understand, and she said, “Oh ya, sure.”  Really, I have been working on it for some time.  You see, when she taught me how to make them, she didn’t use measurements or any real directions.  She cooks like me.  Or, I should say, I cook like her.  We feel and smell and taste our way to a good meal.

After her passing away, however,  I wanted to go a different direction. I had decided to try and just take pictures and document the process without using any really measuring in her honor.  I went to the store and bought everything I needed.  Came home and in a quiet kitchen, I began to cook.  As I started the sauce, her voice rang in my mind.  “Not too much. Ya, ya, ya… more of that.  Basil? No, no basil in the sauce.”  I began to quietly cry.  There she was, cooking along side with me.  Right there in my kitchen.

So pictures were not taken.  I knew that it was to be my moment. All mine.  I mixed the meat.  I soaked the bread.  I beat the eggs.  All the while, hearing her sit in my kitchen and give me direction.  When everything was mixed and ready to be made into little meatballs, I paused.  I cried.  I told her I missed her.  I made secret promises to her.

For now, all I can share are the clean dishes.



  1. Sam · April 11, 2012

    Big hugs Staci. xo

  2. Kylelizabeth · April 11, 2012

    And it tastes amazing!! Grandma would be so proud!

  3. Jacqui · April 11, 2012

    i've been thinking of you a lot these last few days. {hugs} x

  4. Staci Kennelly · April 11, 2012

    thanks, friend!

  5. Staci Kennelly · April 11, 2012

    thanks, sweet heart! They are a good batch. Maybe I should always cry in the meatballs.

  6. Staci Kennelly · April 11, 2012

    thanks, friend!

  7. Shawna Lemay · April 11, 2012

    really beautiful, dear Staci.

  8. damiec · April 11, 2012

    It gets easier. You will continue to feel that connection every time you make them – but it will be more sweet and less bitter. promise! I make my Grandmom's chicken soup every jewish holiday – I am the only one who can make it. My mom, who is an excellent cook, never got it right. Grandmom didn't measure anything, but once, in my early 20's, I had the presence of mind to ask if I could cook with her my excuse being I could lift all her heavy pots. I had her pour her ingredients onto wax paper before dumping them into the pot (then I measured them). Now I can serve her soup to my kids, and it has the very same affect on them as it did on me, my brother and my cousins. I feel her in the kitchen with me when I'm up late making it, and I feel her at the table when I serve it and the kids inevitably ask for seconds. And it never fails to make me smile. and it's been years since I measured anything when I made it : )

  9. Staci Kennelly · April 11, 2012

    thank you, friend!

  10. Staci Kennelly · April 11, 2012

    Thank you for these words of hope! I appreciate them so much! xoxo

  11. Megan · April 11, 2012

    oh yes, this is beautiful. I can imagine her right there next to you. I think you embodied everything she LOVED about being a Sicilian mama, cook, wife. Glad you had your sweet moment making meatballs. Makes me cry to think about it! loe you

  12. Andrezza Haddaway · April 11, 2012

    You put tears in my eyes…
    How strong are the ties that we make…I'm sure you felt her presence and i'm sure that from where she is she'll send you always good vibrations, guide you and inspire you everytime you cook…

  13. Andy Kennelly · April 11, 2012

    I'm here to say those meatballs were amazing. I think the tears added flavor.

  14. Connie · April 12, 2012

    Oh Staci, you have such a way with words! I'm so touched by this short story. Thank You for sharing.

  15. Lap Dog Knits · April 12, 2012

    Food is a gift we receive – how many times have I cried while cooking recipes taught to me by my grandmother? Love your writing, I look forward to following along enjoying your writing and photos

  16. Staci Kennelly · April 12, 2012

    loe you xo

  17. Staci Kennelly · April 12, 2012

    Thank you, friend!

  18. Staci Kennelly · April 12, 2012


  19. Staci Kennelly · April 12, 2012

    Thank you, friend!

  20. Staci Kennelly · April 12, 2012

    Thank you!

  21. a view from a brown dog · April 12, 2012

    Hi Friend, I remember having moments like this after my grandma passed away too, (lasagna). They continue to this day in kitchen and elsewhere when things remind me. These moments get easier and now brings a smile to my face. I just caught up on your last post as well, oh my gosh…. your words always move me, i think we can all relate to “Saturday's” sometimes. I hope you had a wonderful and blessed Easter weekend with family. xx's

  22. Kirstin · April 14, 2012

    Oh my goodness, Staci. I can just imagine those tears rolling as you cooked with her by your side. x

  23. *Michelle* · April 18, 2012

    Aw, honey. 🙂 That's the good stuff. See? She lives on in you.

Thank you for your kind words.

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