My Grandma and Grandpa were both straight from Italy. Having two Grandparents who were full Italian meant lots of traditions and mealtime expectations. Every Sunday was set aside for the whole family to gather together at their home and sit down to share an enormous plate of hot steaming pasta. If you couldn’t make it for Sunday dinner —you were the talk of the table for a FULL week until the following Sunday when someone else didn’t appear. Believe me, we all made sure to clear any plans and reserve Sundays for dinner at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s house!
Grandpa passed on several years prior to Grandma, but she kept up the dinnertime tradition until she became to tired herself to be able to cook. Grandma lived to be 93 years old and went on to meet Grandpa one day after her 93rd birthday. I partly think she lived for so many years, because she had her loving family around her and had pasta Sundays to look forward to.
I miss you Grandma!
I have carried on the mealtime ritual in my home, making every Saturday (instead of Sunday) pasta night. We cook up a large pot of spaghetti and sit around the table sharing stories and the prior week’s events.
Most always, our favorite choice of pasta is Barilla. Barilla uses a blend of the finest durum wheat to produce the semolina and I find it to have the best al dente texture. Its a good source of thiamin, folic acid, iron, riboflavin, and niacin. It is also low in sodium and fat, and is a cholesterol-free food. I know most people look at pasta as being fattening, but when consumed in small servings it’s not. A cup of cooked pasta only contains about 200 calories. The problem is when it is combined with sauces loaded with high calorie fatty meats, creams, butter, cheese and other fattening ingredients. Portion control and low calorie sauces are the key to keeping the delicious dish from expanding your waistline.
Barilla “Share the Table”
Since 1877, Barilla has been celebrating mealtime and inspring families to share the values that have guided them- “a love of life, a devotion to quality, and a respect for tradition.” This past year, Barilla launched “Share the Table,” a program focused on empowering families to make the most of dinnertime. As the program begins to enter its second year, the company has redesigned the Share the Table website to provide more recipes from chefs like Mario Batali plus celebrity tips on how families can make meal time more meaningful. You can read how Mario Batali, Martina McBride, David Tutera, William J. Doherty, Jennifer Trachtenberg, and Lorenzo Boni make the time they spend around the table more special.
I like Chef Lorenzo Boni’s tips on getting the whole family involved in creating meals. He suggests to inspire your child by letting them become the “Executive Chef” for the night, while you become the Assistant Chef. Then let your child pick kid-friendly recipes, help develop the shopping list and even assign tasks to you! Sounds fun!
When you vote yes to ” believing in meaningful meals” at ShareTheTable.com, Barilla will donate $1 to Meals on Wheels Association of America, helping seniors at risk of hunger get the nutritious food they need. Sadly, statistics show over 5 million seniors experienced some form of food insecurity from 2001 to 2005. Of these, about 2.5 million were at-risk of hunger, and about 750,000 suffered from hunger due to financial constraints. Trust me, every single dollar donated counts and can make a difference in someone’s life!
Additionally, to thank you for your participation, you can download a collection of 12 Mario Batali Recipes. The selection include meals that are Kid-Friendly, Everyday Meals, Special Occasions, Quick & Easy, Make-Ahead Meal, and Healthy & Delicious. For this Saturday’s pasta dinner, I want to try making the “Whole Grain Rotini with Tuscan-Style Cauliflower and Pecorino.”
“Pasta Friday Sweepstakes” And “Mealtime Moments Contest”
“To help families get started sharing the table, Barilla now offers “Pasta Friday Sweepstakes” with weekly winners of pasta and pasta sauce giveaways and has created the “Mealtime Moments Contest,” which gives families who commit to enhancing mealtime the opportunity to share their stories and win select prizes throughout the summer.”
Barilla, through Mom Central, sent me this really awesome gift bag (see the first picture above) that included an insulated tote, measuring spoon, pasta holder, wooden spoon, assorted pasta, coupons and recipes from Mario Batali. Everything was wonderful! I especially liked the pasta measuring spoon, because it helps take the guessing out of cooking the correct portion. For years I have always just grabbed a handful or two and usually end up cooking way to much. The pasta holder is also very convenient and looks great displayed on my counter! Of course the pasta and sauce was marvelous too. My little man sure did enjoy it!
“I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Barilla and received products necessary to facilitate my candid review..”