Updated: Aug 14
The question I would get asked when arriving at our stick ball game was, "What is that you are eating." Often, leaving the house early, I would ask my mother if I can take a Calsonya to eat when I got downstairs, if they were available. The game was important but so is having one of these delicious homemade ethnic delights.
My friend would ask if he could have a bite of it and I said yes, although I would rather he would not take a bite. He asked what it was and I described it as a dough with spinach in it sort of like an Italian calzone, which he might be familiar with, but better. As soon as I said the word spinach the mood changed and he refused to try it. I was very happy with that outcome; as it is one of my favorite dishes as a child.
The food memories that I described a while ago in this blog did not really talk about the mother of all food memories, Calsonyas. This delicious food was made by Nona and passed down to all of the Aunts and Daughter-in-Laws. Each of them had their own version and/or variation. My cousins would each state that their versions, passed down by their parent, was the best. In fact, they were all right. Each time I had a Calsonya at my Aunt's home it was delicious but sometimes slightly different. There was not a case of any one of them that I did not like.
The reference to mother of all food memories is one that is shared by all of my cousins. The mere mention of Calsonya invoked an immediate response. Whatever else we might be talking about leading up to the word Calsonya, would cause a change in facial expression and demeanor. The mere hint that there might be a calsonya available and that they could get one, provoked a look of a turned up smile in their lip. Of course, if there were none available, their look would change to that of disappointment.
When I was about 10 or 11 I talked my friend Neil into making calsyonas. My mother was working and I knew where the recipe and ingredients were. We came to my house after school. I got out all the ingredients and started to make the calsyonas. Now, while I had the recipe, I did not have the skill my mother did in preparing this. When the recipe called for flour it did not say, "sprinkle flour all over the kitchen, from table to floor." As we got close to completing the recipe my mother returned home. The look and shrill said it all. Of course if he did not know what that meant, my mother clarified it for us, GET OUT OF THIS HOUSE. That was the end of my childhood making of calsyonyas as I had to wait until I was an adult and on my own to attempt making them again. I have and I love them.
We all coveted this mother of all food memory but there were many other recipes that Nona passed down to all of us through our parents.. You can get a better idea by checking all the recipes available on the website. Just be careful of how much flour you get on the floor!