Gram’s Meatballs

“I’ll make meatballs,” Gram said.

Fourth of July is a sacred time if you are a native of Bristol, RI.  The oldest parade in the country marches through the main streets of the town for several hours.  Family and friends gathered at Gram’s house every year to celebrate our country’s freedom.  A huge feast always took place at the conclusion of the parade.  Gram would spend weeks preparing all of her iconic Italian dishes.

Gram’s meatballs were there.

Before we started our family, we would open our home to family and friends for an annual Holiday Open House.  Our dining room table was crowded with some of our favorite foods, among them a variety of salads, party-size pizza slices, and chicken wings.

Gram’s meatballs were there.

As time marched on, we became parents, welcoming first a set of boy/girl twins, and then a short time later, another baby girl.  A few months after each birth, it was time to bring the children into the church where they were christened, becoming the newest members of the congregation.  A celebration of blessings took place at our home, immediately following the service.

Gram’s meatballs were there.

When life started to get busier, Gram would still make her meatballs regularly.  She started to share them with her grandchildren and then her great-grandchildren by default.  I absolutely loved the freezer bags full of cooked meatballs that she would bring on visits to our home.  Taking those meatballs out for a quick supper instantly brought me back to all of my meatball memories.

Gram’s meatballs were there.

Gram’s meatballs identified her to many who had the privilege of knowing her and enjoying her cooking.  They were a famous family staple and a huge hit with any crowd.  She must have spent countless hours mixing, rolling, and carefully cooking each meatball with love.

Yesterday, I pulled out Gram’s recipe for her meatballs.  While she is no longer with us making meatballs on this earth, I couldn’t help but conjure her up during the process.  Her presence was the strongest when the house took on the aroma of garlic and cooked meat – her signature scent!

Gram’s meatballs were there in spirit and she was smiling down at me knowing that I was thinking of her.

6 thoughts on “Gram’s Meatballs

    • Thanks for reading! My husband and I were laughing about the famous meatball scent last night! My Gram would iron his shirts on occasion, and when we got them back pressed, they carried with them the meatball scent as I’m sure she made a batch or two while she had the shirts in her house! I suppose there could be worse scents for freshly pressed shirts!

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    • My mom actually compiled a “Family Secrets” cookbook years ago to include some of these family favorites…smart thinking on her part! We actually now have 2 editions as the family has grown! It’s so frustrating not to have a written recipe of a beloved dish….my grandfather left us with no recipe for his Italian rice pudding…my mom and uncle have come close, though! Thanks for reading!

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  1. For me, it’s my grandma’s dinner rolls. I use her recipe for special occasions (they call for a cup of mashed potatoes, so there is some planning that needs to happen & I am not always prepared.) I think of her the entire time I am making them. They never turn out quite the same, but my house smells just like hers for the whole day.

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