Hope, Ambition, and Ravioli

How did your family shape your identity?


My childhood memories were mixed by hand. Hunched over Formica countertops my grandmother formed my earliest ephemera between her palms. Side by side we rolled the hours away perfecting the one dish that continues to define me even now. Roll, drop, fold, cut, boil, and bowl. This was no Chef Boyardee. These ravioli were a homespun delicacy. I have never grown out of my love for continuing this tradition. This dish, while simple, represents everything that makes my family both so special and so complex.

Ravioli dinners are always filled with affection and valuable lessons that have each shaped me in their own way. Every New Years the custom is repeated. The family always gathers at the table after the ravioli is done to talk with one another about the year that has passed and the year ahead. Eating the food of his youth always put my grandfather into a nostalgic mood. He was an altogether different force from my Grandma. My grandfather was a kind old man with an exterior toughened on the streets of Detroit. When he was alive, Grandpa would wistfully begin to tell us chronicled tales of suffering and struggle. Back then, the American Dream appeared to him as a promised future. Unfortunately, the Depression had swept away the hope...

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