Through a Kitchen Window after Dark

Her grandmother must have done this, she thought. Oh, she knew that Nonna’s kitchen wasn’t anything like hers, with its gleaming counters that showcased the latest equipment and her tools and utensils that made short work of her tasks.

It must have been a real chore in those days. It might be that they were the good old days and that life was, indeed, simpler. Yet, she felt, in this moment, that it was infinitely easier for her than it had been for her grandmother.

As she poured over the recipe with Nonna’s well-formed cursive echoing an old fashioned era, she felt the spirit of her grandmother alive in her kitchen. “That’s the ticket,” she heard the voice in her head telling her each step along the way—the sautéing of the onions until their sweetness is released, the garlic spilled into the pan for a quick, intense release of its essence before the heat could burn it bitter, the fresh tomatoes shed of their skins and squeezed through her hands to just the right consistency, and the requisite seasoning, salt and pepper and the final note, just picked basil, in a chiffonade that released its essence with the smell of summer.

How nice of you to show up this evening, her unspoken words a thank you to her grandmother. I couldn’t have done it without you.

“That’s what Nonna’s are for.”

She heard the answer as if her grandmother were peeking over her shoulder.