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Grandma's Sauce Recipe
Grandma's Sauce Recipe

“We came here and we’re gonna make it here,” what my great grandma told my great grandpa in Italian while he struggled to make a life for his family in Brooklyn during the Great Depression. Having been born in the states and brought back to his Italian mountain village as a kid, making it in America was his dream. He dug graves in Astoria to save up money to escort his wife and first daughter to the states. Some months after arriving in Brooklyn, my great grandma gave birth to my grandma in 1930, Antoinetta Lucia. (Her teachers Americanized it to Antoinette or Ann Lucy). Her mom taught her how to make the sauce, which we still eat today. My grandma says if her parents lived to see what came of their great grandchildren, “engineers, lawyers, accountants, architects,” they’d burst with pride. We owe them everything. They paved the way for us by providing their children with more opportunities than they had, which I think about whenever I eat the sauce. No one’s recipe is exactly the same. My aunts have their versions with their own personal flares, and my dad loves making his hot by soaking spicy sausages in the pot while it boils. Grandma will be 90 this December. She can’t host big macaroni parties every Sunday and cook food for so many people anymore, but it pleases her to see the spirit of her Italian heritage lives on as each family member draws on the recipe for inspiration. I hope it remains special throughout future generations, reminding my family of where we came from.

Place(s): Sant’Angelo a Fasanella, Brooklyn, New York
Year: 1930

– Laura

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