My Nonna

October 7th would have marked the 102nd birthday of a remarkable woman who left an indelible mark on our family and my life. Delfina, my grandmother, or my Nonna, as we called her, born in Italy in 1921, brought with her a heritage of flavors and a heart full of love, which transcended borders and generations.

After the turmoil of the Second World War, Delfina, with my mother, and my grandfather made the courageous journey from Italy to Brazil. They sought to escape the horrors of the war, searching for a brighter, safer future. In Brazil, Nonna’s kitchen would become the cornerstone of our family, a place where bonds were forged, and hearts were nourished.

Nonna was many things, but her hard work and her warm, caring nature defined her. To me, she was the best grandmother anyone could hope for, and her kitchen was the heartbeat of our family’s gatherings. It wasn’t just a place for cooking; it was the heart of our home, a place where stories were shared, laughter echoed, and memories were created.

I can still vividly picture her standing at the stove, apron dusted with flour, as big pots of simmering sauce filled the air with tantalizing aromas. Her pasta was an art form, and her tiramisu is still my favorite dessert.

Beyond her culinary talent though, Nonna taught me something more profound: she taught me the importance of service, of giving from the heart. Her willingness to serve her family was a testament to her love. She was always ready to ensure everyone’s comfort and happiness.

As life took me down a different path, working for big companies for decades, I felt a growing need for change. The desire to work with my hands, to lead a simpler life, and to spend more time with my children and my husband began to dominate my thoughts. That’s when the idea of “Ana’s Kitchen” took shape.

In my late career change, I discovered that I, too, found purpose in being of service. And there’s no place I’d rather be than in the kitchen, surrounded by my pots and pans, and in the company of my children, family and friends. It’s where I belong, where I can give from the heart, and where I find fulfillment in something I truly care about.

As I celebrate my Nonna’s would-be 102nd birthday, her memory is more alive than ever. I often think of her and all that she taught me, especially when I’m in the kitchen. Today, I woke up missing her more than usual, but I also woke up feeling grateful for the incredible culinary legacy she left behind. In her honor, I continue to cook, to create, and to serve with love. Nonna, your spirit lives on in every dish, in every smile, and in the warmth of our family gatherings. Thank you for being an inspiration and for teaching me the true essence of service and love.

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