Cooked With Love

By Joseph J. Mazzella • November 15, 2021

It was about ten years ago. It was a cold, gray and gloomy Winter’s day. A steady rain was falling that soaked my clothes and chilled my bones. I was walking over to visit my Dad and although his house was only a short walk from mine, I was already wet and miserable. I knocked on his door and stepped in. A warm steam was floating from the kitchen. It touched my nose and suddenly I was eight years old again. Dad was making Nana’s special sauce.

When I was growing up every Sunday after church Nana would make us an Italian feast. She would slow cook her spaghetti sauce for hours. She would throw in olive oil, salt, sugar, pepper, bay leaves, parsley, and garlic. Then she would drop in potatoes, chicken, meat balls, sausage and sometimes even steak. When it was done cooking we would mix in the spaghetti, fix up the plates, and sprinkle on the grated cheese. It always left our bellies full, our hearts happy, and the house smelling Heavenly.

I sat down while Dad made me a plate. It felt so good having a meal like we used to when I was a boy. We talked about those old times and laughed over the memories both good and bad. And I noticed something too. I didn’t feel cold anymore. Oh, my clothes were still soaked from the rain but my heart was warm, my spirit was light, and both my face and stomach were smiling.

Dad and Nana have been gone for years now. I still miss them both every single day. And although my daughter and I both know how to make Nana’s special sauce we don’t cook it as often as we could. Maybe it is because no matter how hard I try I can never get it 100% right. I think that maybe I am missing an ingredient. Or maybe it was just the Love with which Nana and Dad cooked it that made it so delicious. Either way this Winter I am going to make some again. I need its warmth. I need its goodness. And when I cook it with love, I know that Nana and Dad will be smiling down on me from Heaven. May all your meals be cooked with love then. May all your days be filled with love. May your entire life be lived with love. And may you always feel God’s love smiling down on you.


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