Food Processor

Nonna's food processors
Nonna's food processors

Growing up an orphan in Montecatini, Italy in the 1940's under Mussolini, my nonna Egidiana was forced to learn how to ration & cook for her entire family from a young age. The same remained true when she moved to Manhattan as an Italian-American immigrant in the 1960s.

What amazes me the most about nonna is her desire to feed her family only the best even when means are low. This includes always having a jar of homemade pesto for her three sons to eat after school. This pesto, a combination of EVOO, pine nuts, basil, parmesan, & garlic is a simple recipe. When asked for measurements, my nonna gave me a confused look and said, "You just taste it Olivia!"

It is always made in a food processor, Nonna's favorite kitchen tool, as it was one of the first appliances she purchased on her own. It was a reminder of the promises of her new life as a modern mother in America. It blended her bright future with traditions and recipes that linked her to her past, from pizza dough, to Christmas cookies, to pesto.

Her food processor was a symbol of change, and when I moved to college, she made sure it was packed in my suitcase. Nonna, being familiar with the difficulties of adapting to new places, proceeded to send me a small food processor each year, urging that I make and share my favorite foods with my new friends whenever I felt homesick. Her pesto was the recipe I made and shared the night before each new school day, and the recipe I hope my friends remember me by along the way. 

Year: 1960

– Olivia

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant