My mother and her mother were both incredible cooks. Imagine, if you will, the stereotypical Italian grandmother. My mother had that down perfectly decades before she even became a grandmother. And my grandmother was, needless to say, exactly what you think an Italian grandmother would be. She was the president of the local Italian-American Club! I’d say it was in her blood, but you probably have already guessed that she had basil and garlic-infused marinara running through her veins instead.
Incredibly, both of them were even better bakers than they were cooks. I could ramble for many paragraphs about both of them cooking lasagnas or fried eggplant or chicken parmigiana that would make your eyes well with tears of joy. But all of that paled compared to their baking skills. Nana made pizzelles that were flamboyant pieces of delectable art. Her rum balls and wine biscuits famously once caused our pastor to give a Christmas Eve midnight mass drunk to the nines.
And mom. Mom made Easter bread that was so good I’d squirrel away loaves of it in my college dorm room to sustain me for weeks after the resurrection. She actually baked painted Easter eggs into the loaves to create these beautiful centerpieces it almost hurt to slice. But they were so delicious you did.
Both of them are long gone now, and a day doesn’t pass that I don’t wish for just one more second of time with them that I’ll never have. Neither of them even got to meet my second son, which breaks my heart more than he’ll ever know.
I do my best to carry on their traditions. I make a mean bowl of pasta myself, and have a few dozen of their recipe cards saved. I can even make mom’s Easter bread, though it’s not quite the same. I’m sure, like my own wife, they secretly refused to detail their instructions perfectly — a missing ingredient here, a missing step there — so they’d be the only ones who could replicate them exactly. But I try.
I posted to Instagram (and Facebook) a photo of my chocolate chip oatmeal cookies a week or so ago and several people asked for the recipe, so I decided to share it with the universe. I put this together and exported it as a PDF so you should be able to print it using the double-sided setting on your printer. Good luck!