{Foodee} Good Gravy! A Sunday Sauce Story.

So there are Grandma’s…and then there are Grandma Kay Kays. For 29-ish {ha!} years, I have had the honor of being not only CoCo’s Daughter, but the delight of being Kay Kay’s {oldest!} granddaughter. When you ask her about the day I was born, she’ll tell you she jumped up and down so much with her big sis in her dining room, that she broke a few plates in her China cabinet. {Lordy, that little lady didn’t know what she was in for! Danger! Hurricane approaching.} What a welcome!

Growing up next door to a Grandma like Kay was, in a word, freakingfantastic. The woman {a twin!} is my very own angel. A tiny 5 ft. {on a good day} bundle of fireworks. My Shrimp, Red, Kakes, Catalina….Mountaincheeks. I’ve never seen her without a full face of perfectly placed make-up or without a strategically high, hair-sprayed ‘do. She rocks bubblegum pink lipstick, wears shiny cocktail rings with jammies, has quick one-liners for days, feeds the homeless {ask her about the time when my Dad…her silly son…felt bad and brought some home for a sandwich}, enough purses to outfit every girl in the United States and so many cute pumps she has them in every closet of her house {“The higher the heel, the closer to Heaven, Dani-bananni”}. She is the one I happily blame for my animal print obsession. She’s the Grandma who sent us home with new nail polish. She’s the only person on Earth who can make a flawless Shirley Temple {sorry Dad!}.

A Princess from Perugia.

My Grandpa {Papa!} never ever said one word to her about the carnation-colored old school dial phone in their kitchen, the adorably huge gazebo she just HAD to have in her side yard, her several Enquirer subscriptions or her strawberry samplings in the middle of the patch . She was, and always will be, his beautiful bride he flirted with in the bean fields {because he thought her toosh was cute}.

Calling all cute Grammies!

Kay owned a woman’s dress shop downtown. My sis and I, at 4 and 7 years respectively, would stand in the window and pretend we were mannequins. We’d answer her business phone and recite Madonna lyrics to customers. We’d try on ball gowns and play hopscotch in the dressing rooms. We stole all of her snacks from her desk drawer {Stelladoro!}. She never once told us to stop. {She did, however, have to tell us to stop when we’d parade around the old neighborhood going door to door to ask her friends if they were Republicans or Democrats. And, also that time we announced to everyone that it was her 58th birthday by putting a sign the size of Sicily on her front lawn. And, that other time when we paraded our dog around her house and laughed when he left a present in her living room. Whoops!} Scorch #1 and Scorch #2 sure are a lucky set of sisters.

So, how did this angelface end up as my Grams? She hopped on a boat in Italy back in the day at the wee age of 8 with her fam and set sail for the states. She brought a spunky ‘tude and family recipes with her from the old country. At Christmas 2002, she wrote down all of her favorite recipes in a notebook and gave it to me in an old cigar box {adorably adorned with a swatch of leopard fur}. I thought. I’d. Faint. The stories she included in between chapters about our family make me tear up something fierce! Special times a million. Bajillion.


Well, so here we are today. Reading a ridiculously long introduction to a stinkin’ sauce recipe for God’s sake. {So sorry - Hurricane, rememba?!} I look forward to sharing her recipes with you every now and then…and, today, the first one has to be da tomato sauce one. Please make it. Please pass it down. Please tell your fam it’s from a nice, unsuspecting lady whose adoring 29-ish year old grandchildren still prank call her. Daily.


Mangia, Bella! Tune in next time for Tiramisu.


  1. I love this story! Your grandmother sounds like a truly amazing dame. I can't wait to try the sauce recipe! She totally wins points from me, just because my grandma (high bouffant-Ed, makeup'd, and sassy-pants herself) supplied me with my share of Stelladoras too. I think it is a right of passage for a kid growing up in the 80s.

  2. Thanks so much my dear "furgowl"!!!!! xoxoxo

  3. Carrie S. - I think we are totally birds of a feather! Nothing better than having a lil sassy pants in your life, right? Such a treat! And, Stelladoros - where do I even begin? hehe Those S-shaped cookies "shaped" my entire childhood. I hope the recipe turns out great for you! Ciao! xoxo