Copyright (c) 2010, The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.
Wednesday, June 23, 2010 8:07 AM
(Source: The Dominion Post (Morgantown, W.Va.))By The Dominion Post, Morgantown, W.Va.
Jun. 23--When Theresa DeCaria's sister-in-law married into the family nearly 20 years ago, she asked DeCaria for a favor.
So DeCaria, of Weirton, decided to do what many daughters, daughters-in-law and granddaughters have wished they had done -- she decided to stand there and watch while her mother cooked. And when her mother went to throw in a "dash" of oregano, DeCaria measured that "dash" and wrote it down. Ditto for a "pinch," or "a splash," or any other nonmeasured measurement her mother had been using for years.
"We spent quite a few hours in the kitchen," she said with a laugh. "And then I'd try making the recipe alone, with my measurements, to make sure it matched."
"Then one day I thought, 'Well, I guess I'm ready to put this into a book,' " she said.
"I think people like to see what it's supposed to look like," she said.
The book has also been selected as a category finalist for the 2010 Eric Hoffer Award, according to Dawn Show, with The Eric Hoffer Award for Books and Prose, and was named a winner in the International Book Awards General Cookbook category.
But it's the letters from customers that DeCaria cherishes the most, she said.
"I get a lot of letters from people who say, 'You could have put me in those pictures' [family pictures used in the cookbook]," she said. "A lot who say they wish they had written down their family recipes. Stories about how their parents always fixed polenta. And I know I probably would have taken it all for granted if it hadn't been for my sister-in-law.
"She's very excited about the whole thing," DeCaria said. "It's exciting for all of us, down to cousins of cousins. And for the second generation -- they grew up on this food, but they didn't grow up in the kitchen like we did. So it's been a big hit, both inside and outside of the family. It's very heart-warming."
But DeCaria doesn't intend to stop with "Table My Mother Set." After all, her mother has a lifetime of cooking knowledge to share, cooking knowledge that goes way back.
"I have two or three ideas for new books," DeCaria said, "because I have so many recipes. I have to get moving."
ITALIAN MEATBALL PATTIES
From "The Table My Mother Set" by Theresa DeCaria
Mix all ingredients but oil together. Shape into patties and fry in oil on medium heat until browned on both sides. You may also bake the patties in a pre-heated 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes (add a little water to bottom of pan before baking).