Food to me is often more than food. It’s a memory, or a curiousness. It’s a “you’re welcome in my home”. This is one of those recipes.
On Saturday I headed up the coast to Ellsworth to help organize my Memere and Pepere’s house so it could be sold, organize the decades of fabric my Memere had as a seamstress, and visit with family. I went to my Aunt Mary’s farmhouse, which happens to be one of the most wonderful love filled and creative places I’ve ever been, for dinner.
Dinner at my Aunt Mary’s is never dinner in anyone else’s home. We make meals from the garden to compliment other items, we laugh and talk and eat and talk and….Aunt Mary is Italian, enough said. On Saturday night she even made us homemade sorbetto and asked me, “why doesn’t everybody make things by hand? It’s so easy and tastes so much better.” I couldn’t have said it better myself as I stood there scooping sorbetto out with my finger and tasting the fresh airy and wildly frozen strawberry flavor all over my mouth.
As you walk around her house you see beautiful artwork. She or her husband made it.
You smell amazing scents. She’s baking/cooking it.
You see a beautiful hand woven basket. She wove it.
You see weeds. She teaches you which ones are edible and how to prepare them. Your mouth explodes with unknown flavors.
You see gorgeous flowers, and take photos to turn them into art on your wall. She teaches you what they are.
During dinner in the screen house across the lawn, we got to talk about grapes. Andy and I want to grow grapes across our rock wall so we can add another wonderful fruit to our little acre. The talk turned to grape leaves. Stuffed, beautiful, succulent grape leaves. I remembered we had a wild grape vine in the woods right on the edge of the field. My Aunt’s husband went to their grape vine, picked one, and told me how to make these. Aunt Mary then said she normally makes the stuffing with rice, onion, raisins and “some other stuff”. Craig taught me how to roll them so they stay tight when cooking.
I was sold.
Tonight as I foraged through the hayfield my mission was grape leaves. I was going to make my version of curried grape leaves and there was no stopping me.
I have very very vivid loving wonderful memories in my Aunt Mary’s house. There isn’t a single memory that doesn’t make me radiate smiling from the inside. I wish everyone could know her because their lives would only increase ten fold, if not more. So whenever I make these now, I’ll always remember us talking about it. The laughter and love that filled the screen house and the perfect nature that are those moments in life that seem to be a split second but are in your mind forever.
Stuffed Grape Leaves
This recipe is not exact. I had plenty of filling left over, while I ended up being short by one grape leaf in my harvesting. I’ll give you approximates, but give or take for the number of people you’ll be feeding and maybe be prepared to use the filling for something else too (and it’s perfectly delicious on it’s own). Scroll below the recipe if you want to see some visuals of how to wrap the grape leaves. This is just my method I was taught, I’m not sure it’s the proper method but it worked!