Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Gnocchi Story

Polish Potato Gnocchi
Prepared for Easter by Beata

I have to confess that I had never heard the word gnocchi until I went home for the weekend with some college friends and watched their Italian relatives made a big batch for dinner. I watched the process -- starting with the baked potatoes -- from start to finish, and -- in the end -- they were delicious! Homemade gnocchi, however, was not in the recipe books or on the home menus of anyone else I knew, so it turns out that I didn't think about gnocchi again for fifteen years.

In 1993, my husband Gerry and I moved to Philadelphia where the grocery stores carried many more international choices than the stores we were used to back in Indiana. We wanted to try everything new! There was ready - made gnocchi, available right on the shelf or packaged under refrigeration in the deli case. I thought back to that long - ago home cooked dinner of tiny homemade potato dumplings, and tossed a package into our cart.

One thing we all know, no matter the circumstances, moving is mega - stressful for everyone concerned. Gerry and I were no exception. One Saturday, a few weeks into the transition, we were so angry at each other over some renovation issue or other that we could barely speak or make eye contact. As is so often the case, we can no longer even remember the precise cause of our discontent. Perhaps we were hangry? Perhaps we needed a nap or a snack. After all, it was lunchtime, so I decided to try the prepared gnocchi that we had picked up at the store. I tossed it into the boiling water as the instructions recommended and, very unceremoniously, served it up.

We each took a tentative first bite, shook our heads, puffed out our cheeks, looked each other in the eye for the first time in hours and -- to whatever extent you can when your mouth is full of library paste -- began laughing uncontrollably. These were definitely more gummy than fluffy, not the tender tasty gourmet morsels that I had been thinking of. We worked our way through a few bites, chomping and snickering. Without even meaning to, the horrible store - bought gnocchi had resolved our argument and restored our sense of humor! Ever since that day, over twenty-five years ago, we don't even have to say the word gnocchi: we just puff our cheeks and are transported to that silly time of comic relief when, thanks to a clump of potato pasta, it became impossible to remain angry any longer.

Maybe the delicious variety of gnocchi requires a personal touch. E.g., the elegant plateful you see above was prepared by my friend Beata, an excellent cook who knows all the delectable homemade secrets!

Missing Each Other's Cooking
During This Time of Social Distancing

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