My Nani invented it ....

by Joanne Calafiore Klimek
(Elmwood Park IL)

Nani invented it…..

What’s old is new again.
When you visit those fancy Italian restaurants and the bottle of olive oil and parmesan cheese grace the tables, ever wonder where that all started? Well, my Nani invented it!

Friday’s were of course meatless days, but also days of fresh homemade buns and pizzas.I can actually smell it as I’m writing this!

After starting the dough around 5:00 AM , the entire house would be cleaned from top to bottom ( It’s Friday, someone might come over on the weekend) Right around noon it was time to fashion the buns with “gigelena” on top. Each symmetrically round puff of dough was dipped in sesame seeds and allowed to rise again. Rows and rows of them. They would be put into the oven to bake and just as they were turning golden brown, we would get “THE CALL” “They’re ready !” she would say. We would walk down four blocks (yes,walk) to Nani’s house and sit at the dining room table with the clear plastic tablecloth over the lace one. We couldn’t sit at the kitchen table-- had those rows and rows of buns all over. Nani would split those buns in half with the precision of a Samurai warrior and drizzle that luscious olive oil and sprinkle them with love.....I mean Parmesan cheese. What a treat …. and we didn’t even know it!

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Apr 16, 2011
Nani? it shuold be Nonna
by: Anonymous

Hello i assume your Nani was Italian? it just suprise me that you call her Nani wen we all called her Nonna

Sep 30, 2009
by: Gerri

Oh, Joanne, my nose is in heaven! You've recreated a warm kitchen, a bit of flour everywhere and an aroma like no other. Job well done and congratulations to Nani for her "invertion".

Do you make these? Let me know - I'll be over!!!


Sep 30, 2009
Yum Yum
by: Nina

Hey Joanne and Maria,

This is a sweet and touching essay. It really makes me hungry and I wish your Nani was still around so we could go over to her house on Friday. It's beautifully written. I appreciate receiving it.

Thanks, Nina

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