Meatball Baller


Many years ago, my great-great-grandmother bought a meatball baller that I didn’t know until now that it had a bigger story to tell. She immigrated from Naples with her husband, who died on the boat. She was in her early 40s when she got the baller in New York City. It’s a metal utensil that has a scissor-like handle and two hemispheres at the top. This makes the perfect ball when clamped together. This tool was passed down to my grandmother and then we lost track of it recently. This tool was invented to speed up the process of making each individual meatball by hand. This is important to my culture because it helps me connect to my Italian heritage which I’m not very familiar with. It’s also part of my identity because I like to cook. Although it’s too old to use, it’s still part of our family tradition because we make meatballs every Easter. This helps preserve it’s “spirit”. This object means a lot to me because it’s a great way of remembering my great-great grandmother whom I never met. It also reminds me of how we got here, especially because I wouldn’t be here today without her. That’s why this meatball baller is so important to me, my family, and my heritage.

Place(s): New York, Naples

– WH

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