Starting my own blog has truly been an eye-opening experience. I’ve met so many amazing and inspiring people along the way, and have been exposed to unique opportunities that I’ll never forget. Now that I’m able to extend this to Garrett, it makes me so happy to see how his life is enriched by my little “side project” I started when he was born. One such moment happened a couple of weekends ago, after being invited to attend Cook2Learn Academy’s Italian cooking class at Taverna Pizzeria and Risotteria.
I first stumbled upon Cook2Learn on Instagram, where I immediately connected with the owner Tiziana, whose family also happens to be from Sicily. Such a small world sometimes. As soon as I read a little more about her cooking classes (that she offers for children 3 to 12 years of age), I knew it was something Garrett and I had to do. It was so fun to see his little face light up when he asked me “Mama, do I get to do all this myself?”, to which I answered “Yeah buddy, you do.” To say he loved it is an understatement. His favorite part was rolling out the dough for the Casadinas – a traditional Easter tart from the region of Sardinia. After they prepare the food, the chef collects them all and bakes them for the kids to taste their own creations. They hold each class at authentic Italian restaurants throughout Houston, where lunch is catered as they wait for their food to cook. Then at the end, they even give them their own cooking certificate and recipe (in both English and Italian) to remember it all.
The classes not only give children the opportunity to learn about authentic Italian food, they also spend the whole first part of the class teaching them conversational Italian. Hearing Garrett learn to say “Come si chiama?” or “What is your name?”, took me immediately back to summers in Italy and Sicily where my aunts and uncles would teach me how to introduce myself to my cousins. We’d go back and forth between broken English and Italian, and I remember being shy at first but loving the feeling when we actually figured out what the other was saying. I dream of taking Garrett, and now little sister, someday to visit their relatives – not to mention Grant, who still has never met that whole side of my family. Plus , so much of that day reminded me of shadowing my dad in the kitchen growing up. You know you’re a natural in the kitchen (which my dad was), when you don’t have to use recipes and can whip up pretty much any type of food on the spot. I’m guessing it was from his own childhood living at his parent’s restaurants, who immigrated from Italy to the UK and were very successful cooking British food (notoriously known for its blandness), but with an Italian flare.
Sharing some great shots below from the day (you can see all photos here), and I can’t wait to take him back for another class – with Nonna next time :). If you have a little one who would love to “cook to learn” (see what I did there?), their next class will be on April 29th at Hotel Granduca – but hurry, they only have a few spots left! As they say, “Cucina Sano e Parla Italiano!” – “Cook Healthy and Speak Italian!”