December 11, 2009

Cooking with an Italian Grandma

 It was so cold today ("32 degrees, but feels like 22") that my Grandmom cooked my Mother and I a warm Italian meal: Peppers and Eggs.Peppers and Eggs is a popular meatless, Italian meal eaten during lent. It was also popular with Italian immigrants in the 1900s. 
My Grandma is so hardcore, that she uses cast iron pans for everyday cooking-- that are circa 1950. These pans are not like the cast iron of today. They are lighter with soft worn edges. They used to belong to her sister, who was married when she was 16.  (That's my Grandmother in her kitchen with her co-chef, Sparky.) My Grandmom also doesn't use recipes, so it is very hard for me to get one out of her! (Although, when I was little, if I asked her to cook something too often she would threaten me with "I'll give you the recipe and then you can cook it yourself! But she never did.)

Grandmom's "Recipe" for Peppers and Eggs:

-Frying Peppers ( Make sure they are the frying variety)
-4 Eggs
-Sandwich Rolls
-Olive Oil
-Salt and Pepper to taste
-Cheese if wanted

Directions: Chop enough peppers to fill the bottom of your pan. Heat up enough olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Fry the peppers until soft. Whist eggs in a bowl with a little water. Pour into the fried peppers. Stir
until done. Add cheese to the mixture if desired. Remove from pan and put a few spoonfuls onto sliced sandwich rolls.

*Note: When I was taking these pictures my Grandmom implored that I "wait until she got her hair done!"

More Precise Recipe
The Soprano Family Cookbook  The recipe is surprisingly in this book.

A recipe from Good Things to Eat by Rufus Estes (1911) pg. 55:

Rufus Estes was born in 1857 as a slave in Tennessee. After the Civil War, he moved in with his grandmother, where he only attended one term of school before getting a job in a restaurant at age 16. He eventually became a cook for a prestigious line of railway cars. He cooked for many prominent figures of his time. He wrote "Good Things to Eat" in 1911, as a collection of personal recipes and advice for kitchen help. It was one of the first cookbooks written by an African American in the United States.   


  1. I grew up in an italian family and pepper and egg was a friday night supper durning lent.

  2. Were they made the same way, Jackie?

    My Grandmother is actually Lithuanian but she married an Italian and immediately learned to cook from his mother and normally only cooks Italian now. :D

  3. Frick you Jackie, no one cares about your dagum childhood.


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