Since earlier this month, I encourage eating a little less meat, it seems only right to offer the occasional meatless option.
This is a recipe from my cousin Flora, who got it from her mother, my mother’s big sister. One of the joys/confusions of a big family is that generations start to meld. My mother is the youngest of 10, and Flora was the youngest daughter of the the oldest daughter…so Flora and my mother were close enough in age to be raised more like sisters. It was confusing when I was little to have a cousin who was also a grown-up
Flora’s birthday was the 23rd of January. Birthdays in our family, especially since so many of us are Snow Babies, and Winters in New England can throw a monkey wrench in the best laid travel plans, are often observed officially rather then on just the day itself. And they can stack up, so one cake could be for more then one birthday – unless there were more then one cake….. The end result is that I’m always a little murky on the actual dates of any family actual b-day.
Flora was the first cousin born over here and not in Italy, and when she was little she got to spend lots of time with Nonna, whom she had nothing but nice things to say about. Flora also took it upon herself to take the cooking of the aunties and write it down. None of them had cookbooks – they just cooked. When gathered together the talk was always about food, and where you got it, and what you did with it, and what else you might do with it, and how different people like things in different ways.
Flora passed away 2 years ago, and when I have a question on how to make something, I remember anew that she is no longer with us. It still takes me a little by surprise. But she did leave a whole lot of recipes written down. This post is a birthday remembrance for her.
This is a recipe we found fairly recently when going through my mother’s files looking for the original Walnut Cake recipe (we still only have copies and no the original). The Note to Irma (my mother) is on one side – the recipe is on the other.
Lentils and Macaroni
1 cup lentils
1 celery stalk
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons oil
Soak 1 cup lentils ½ hour. Empty into a colander and rinse. Return lentils to the pan.
Add: 1 cut up tomato, 1 cut up celery stalk, 1 small onion, diced, 1 tbs salt, 2 tbs oil and water – at least 2 inches higher.
Bring to a boil.
Simmer 1 hour.
Add cooked macaroni.(She doesn’t mention how much, but seldom did we cook less then a pound…and ditalini or tubertini or some little pasta that wold hold on to lentils would be best)
Let flavors blend 5 minutes.
From note to Irma from Flora. Flora mentions 41 years of marriage, so maybe this was written in 2001?
This is my mother’s recipe as given to me 41 years ago. Over the years I have changed things slightly. I put in less onion, less salt, little, if any, oil. I top the dish with grating cheese. It’s a good meatless dish for Friday. Every time I make this dish, I have to endure Bob (who loves lentils) telling me “Lentils – the oldest dish in the world. Did you know Christ ate lentils?” After 41 years of this repartee, I am ready to crown him with the lentils.