Follow the culinary adventures and misadventures of the Cooking Agents (Ray and Katie). Watch as we eat/cook our way into adulthood.
I will be absent from the blogosphere starting today through February 28th, my D day… or what could be known as the best day of my life. Until then, I have officially taken a sabbatical from work and unofficially from everything else that sucks away my precious CPA study time. If I don’t pass this last part, I will begin to lose parts I’ve already passed and by that time, let’s just say it won’t be pretty.
I did want to submit one final post prior to my studies. Very recently, my grandpa Augustine Joseph Palermo passed away. Aside from Jen, my grandpa had a very strong influence on me in the kitchen. Not only was my grandpa a wonderful cook, he had a deep passion for food and for eating things he loved… whether or not he was supposed to eat something like garlic or oregano or onions (and the list goes on and on) was another story. We even used his small Garden City kitchen as our ballroom floor as we’d dance and dance around every major holiday.
My grandpa was by no means a snob, but he did enjoy some of the finer things in life and had a real appreciation for them. When we had osetra and champagne for New Year’s, you’d think he was eating manna personally sent down from God in heaven. He would often recall fine foods he and my grandma would share in popular New York eateries.
My grandpa cooked beautifully. What started as a necessity at a very young age (my grandfather’s mother died when he was only thirteen and he and his sister Toni had to watch the younger Charlie and Ginge) turned into a pleasure. I’m not sure that I would enjoy cooking as much had I been under similar circumstances.
Over the holidays, my grandpa would pull me aside to discuss recipes he’d be hankering to try but never got around to. The most recent was an easy but rich beef stew he’d seen on America’s Test Kitchen. He’d drop the book title in conversation 3 or 4 times during the appetizers and another during dessert. Got it. Cooks Country, grandpa. A few months after he was diagnosed with “pre” leukemia (a euphemism for just plain old leukemia), I ran to Barnes and Nobles to buy him Cooks’ Country. I found the beef stew recipe and dog earred the page so he’d always have a quick reference for the next time we were together. I went back to Boston after New Year’s planning on buying all of the ingredients so we could make it together when I came home for Easter.
Sadly, on late Tuesday night, my sister and I got the call from my mom saying grandpa was being rushed to the hospital and they were doing everything they could. After a tearful conversation with my cousin Aly, death seemed inevitable. Not an hour later, my grandpa passed away.
On Friday, after the final wake service, I grabbed the book from my grandma’s room. The page is still dog earred, ready for my return to the kitchen come March. I plan on making the beef stew with a few extra splashes of red wine in my grandfather’s honor. My dance partner may be gone, but our dance steps are still in that kitchen. I will never sip good champagne or gorge on a piece of lasagna without missing you.