this is my holiday ritual. i make the pizzelles. it’s a fun job but it’s a hard job, because it’s tedious and if i get distracted for more than a few seconds i get burnt pizzelles so i usually get a good number of those. and like the holidays in general it’s a bittersweet job because it keeps nana alive and takes me back to a really simple time before i understood grief.
nana made them every year, literally boxes and boxes of them, for everyone in the family. my little nana, sitting at the table manning the iron for hours in her keds and her sweatshirt. she’d spend weeks doin the damn thing. and her pizzelles were BOMB. to the extent that “nana” and “pizzelles” were synonymous for anyone who had them.
i remember the year i was “trained,” waaaay way before she got sick. i just went for fun. i lost count of how many cups of flour i added on my way up to 8, which i’m sure killed her inside but she didn’t show it. i must have over-poured or burnt 90% of them. she sent me home with the ones we made probably because they were such shit.
when she died it became my job.
the first year was a mess - a reminder of the little ways we still needed her around. we had her recipe card. but typical old school, she had the more intuitive pieces of the recipe in her brain. and there’s so many little facets to getting it right - the texture, the flavor, the color. “8-9 cups of flour,” the recipe says, “add the 9th cup if the batter is too sticky.” wtf is too sticky? “a handful of anise seed.” but not my handful. she’d close the iron and watch the clock - she told me how many seconds when she taught me but i forgot.
every year i make them and everyone tells me they’re awesome but we all know they’re not like hers. i think i get a little closer every year though. it’s a practice. and every year i plug in the iron and worry whether it will still get hot. what will i do when this iron breaks and they don’t even look like hers anymore? nana’s been gone for 6 years. the iron’s still hot. - 2 hours ago