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Kidsday report: A family tradition

Kidsday reporter Nick Cowan of Sayville standing behind

Kidsday reporter Nick Cowan of Sayville standing behind the homemade raviolis he made with his family. Photo Credit: Newsday/Pat Mullooly

There are many traditions that my family has that we do every single year. These include cutting down our own Christmas tree, saying what we are thankful for before we eat at Thanksgiving and celebrating Christmas Eve with a full seafood dinner.

Many families may celebrate these traditions. However, I have a tradition that is unique to my family. It has been passed down for many generations and was practiced by both my great-grandmothers in my grandmother’s and grandfather’s families, and it was started in Italy many years ago.

My family makes the most delicious homemade ravioli ever. You may say many families do that — but not like our family. We make everything from scratch, including the dough. The filling has cinnamon and sugar combined with the ricotta. Also, it is an entire family affair.

My grandma used to make it for my mom on her birthday. Now, my dad makes it for my mom’s birthday and my birthday. But everyone has to be here, as everyone has a job. My grandmother and aunt make the filling. Even though they have a recipe, they still taste it about five times to make sure that it is “just right.”

My dad mixes the dough and then forms it into balls. While it rests, we play board games. When the dough is ready, my dad rolls it out and puts it through the pasta machine to flatten it. I turn the crank as he feeds the dough through. When it gets to the right thickness, my dad makes a strip of dough and then puts a bit of filling on it. It is then folded over and cut into individual raviolis. My grandma, mom and I do this. My aunt seals the edges and pokes about three holes with a toothpick in each ravioli to let the excess air out. After we have formed about 200 ravioli, we boil water to cook them. Everyone is on deck, as we have to get them all in the boiling water fast. We take them from the table and put them on our arms and on sheet pans to get as many in the water as possible. They cook, then are strained and put in bowls. My grandma adds her homemade meat sauce and some grated cheese. We all sit down, say grace and dig in.

It takes about six hours to complete the whole process. We start about 9 in the morning and usually do not eat until about 3 in the afternoon. It is so worth it! The ravioli are amazing. Anyone who has tried them has agreed they are delicious.

This tradition is very meaningful to me and my entire family. We get together as a family and work as a team. I know when I get older, I will continue the tradition with my family. I will remember the memories that were made and particularly will remember my very special grandmother.
 

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