Meet Nonna Yolanda Agostino
About Nonna Yolanda
I always have nostalgic memories of the town where I was born. It was a little town named Gioiosa Jonica near Reggio Calabria in the beautiful region of Calabria. Those memories are also associated with the great meals that my wonderful mother Evelina used to cook. My mother had a reputation of being a great cook. My father had a reputation of being very generous to his guests. I remember the big “tavolate” shared with my family and friends. There was always a lot of food and wine on the table and lots of guests with big appetite. I remember the laughter of the guests as if it was background music. Those were great
ays of my childhood. When I think about them I realize that those great memories were made possible thanks to my mother’s cooking. My father was so proud of her.
“A casa di donna Evelina e don Attilio si mangia bene e si ride bene,” people used to say.
“I would have never married a woman that doesn’t know how to cook,” my father used to reply.
Being the middle daughter I was not assigned cooking tasks around the house. My oldest sister used to be my mother’s cooking assistant. When I got engaged at the age of 19, my parents decided to teach me how to cook.
“A woman that cannot cook cannot get married,” my mother used to say.
It wasn’t easy to learn in the beginning. I was more interested hearing the serenades that my fiancé played for me outside my house. Attracted by his singing I would run to my balcony and forget all about the pot on the stove. I have to confess that I did burn quite a few meals in the beginning.
My mother used to yell at me. “Your marriage is not going to last long if you don’t learn how to cook.” In the span of three months I became such a great cook, got married and moved to America.
My husband Joe used to brag to his friends about my cooking. Whenever he would go back to Italy to manage the family estate he would call me and say that he missed my cooking. Great food gives joy to people. When my husband became ill he said that the only joy he had left in life were my great meals. He enjoyed my great meals until the day he died.
Cooking is important in life. It brings people together. My children get together at my home also thanks to my cooking. My daughter Marinella and her husband Paolo, my son Gaetano and his wife Grace, my son Attilio and his fiancé love my Ragu` on Sundays. My grandchildren Antonio, Lola and Joseph prefer my chicken cutlets. I love to cook for my children and my grandchildren. When they all sit around my table I have the sensation of being at one of the “grande tavolate” that my mother used to give in Italy and I enjoy people’s laughter just like I enjoy music.