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Baked Ziti

Lancelot and I have been blessed over the many years of our marriage with the fact that OUR grandparents have been healthy and long living.  Sadly on Monday, we received the news that we'd been dreading:  Lancelot's Gramma had passed away at the age of 98.

This won't be a sad post; this will be a celebration of life.

When I first married Lancelot, Gramma intimidated the hell out of me.  She was the matriarch of a large family and I was not sure of myself.  I attended my first Easter dinner at her house when I was pregnant with the Dark Prince.  For some reason, I was seated next to her and her laser like attention was focused on me for the god-knows-how-many-courses-delicious-Italian-meal. 

"SemperFiWife?  Don't you like carrots?" said she.

"Gramma, I ate them already.   They were very good,"said I.

"I didn't see you eat them." said she.

So..that meant it didn't count and I ate more of them.  I ate more than a family of four that day.      The four hour car ride home was awful and uncomfortable.  Later, I learned from my MIL that Gramma was worried that I would crave something and not have it and then Dark Prince would have a birthmark that resembled the craving.  Now I have never seen a birthmark resembling an artichoke in my whole life but I have to say that none of my children have birthmarks so I think I have to thank Gramma for that.

After getting to know her, I fell in love with a short, opinionated, elderly lady from Brooklyn, New York.  She was wonderful.  She was funny and warm.  She had a unique perspective on life and was not afraid to tell people what she thought.  I loved her stories about what life was like in New York City when she was a little girl.

She loved her family.  It shows in every picture I have of her.  She positively glowed with her 3 children, 8 living grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren.  She loved her inlaw relatives too.  Goodbyes from her always netted me a big kiss, a warm hug and a "goodbye, doll".  I wish I could have had one more.

I have mentioned in the past that when I cook someone else's recipe, I feel closer to them. 

Tonight I am making Gramma's Baked Ziti with homemade meatballs.  I miss her but making her dish makes me feel like she's just over my shoulder ensuring that I don't put too much parmesan cheese in the Ziti. 

I promise, Gramma, I won't.

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