Food Mill

In the year 2000, my great grandmother, 92 and my great grandfather, 98 died one month apart. I was 10 years old and I remember them. My great grandmother’s birth name was Maria, but I called her Nanny. She and her mother who was my great, great grandmother, Francesca, traveled together by boat from Stromboli, Italy to America. Stromboli is an island in the Mediterranean Sea, near the coast of Sicily. They left the sunny Italian island in November 1918 and arrived in America on a cold day in January 1919. They were met by my great, great grandfather Antonio Russo, who worked as a longshoreman, so he could pay for his family’s voyage. They settled among other Italian immigrants on Union Street in Brooklyn. For most of their 75 year marriage, my great grandparents owned a fruit and vegetable market and worked everyday side by side. Nanny became a great cook. She strained fresh Italian plum tomatoes using this metal food mill to make a delicious tomato sauce. The seeds had to be removed carefully or else the sauce would be bitter. The aroma of this tomato sauce would fill the whole store and Nanny would even give out free samples to some lucky customers.When I was young, Sunday dinner always included a pasta dish with Nanny’s homemade tomato sauce. I loved her food and I learned my first Italian word, “mangia” meaning “Eat!” For 81 years my great grandparents lived in this “land of their dreams”. They set a good example for future generations of their family – including me.

Year: 2000

– Steven

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more