Happy 100th Birthday, Mom!

I would like to dedicate this artisan blog to my mom, who at age 100 can still make pasta by hand, as she did at age 7, standing on a stool to help her mother with this daily chore of making pasta for her family. This too will soon become a lost art. Many may learn to make pasta but few would ever be able to achieve the paper thin sheet of a meter in diameter circle of fresh pasta made in a matter of minutes. The skill of those elders who made pasta, often the basic staple for nourishment, will soon die with them. This is the reason I wish to document my mother as I wish to do with many other artisans that one can experience today, yet soon will be artisans of yesterday.
mom on a crate
This is a picture of mother making pasta in our What’s Cooking Bistro where she made homemade pasta for 27 years, serving Orange County, California. We were the first restaurant known in the USA with 12 kinds of freshly made pasta, loved by all.

Picture of mom in our Tuscany kitchen was when she visited me in 2007, teaching pasta making at age 94. Her technique the same. The finished product, smooth and elastic as it should be. Singing as she worked the dough, as I remembered in my youth. Still skillful with the knife as she cuts the rolled pasta sheets to make fettuccini, even if at a slightly slower pace, being the only difference I could note in her 93 years of pasta making.

drop box 21

Watching her through the years always amazed me how she could click that circle of thin dough back and forth on her yard long wooden rolling pin. I practiced it in my youth, but in my teens turned to the newly popular pasta machine. Mother always said as good as it may be, pasta by hand makes a superior product. I disagreed with her, that is, until the queen of Italian cuisine, Marcella Hazen confirmed mother’s statement when meeting her at a convention. She explained that the warmth of the hand creates a dough superior to any machine. I never did tell my mother what I was told.