“First put on some Italian music”, my mother wrote on a recipe card as the first step to making her sauce. Closing my eyes, I could hear the lyrics “in the meantime let me tell you that I love you, buona sera, signorina, kiss me goodnight.” The sauce would simmer as the music would set the mood and a little slice of Italy would fill our kitchen. It was the smell and sound of my childhood Sundays.
Although I now know my mother’s marinara sauce by heart (although we pronounce it “madinad”), I love having her little card tucked away in my kitchen drawer. As I was looking at it one day, the idea came to me of a perfect birthday gift for her. Somehow, I wanted to put this recipe in her own handwriting on a cutting board to have as a keepsake. Turning right to Etsy, I found a little shop called “3D Carving” that would customize a 13×9.5 bamboo cutting board by engraving her words on its surface. For only $30, I followed their steps and patiently waited for it to arrive. When it was delivered, I anxiously opened the package and smiled when I held the cutting board in my hands. I grazed my fingers over “Maria’s Marinara Sauce,” feeling the little grooves where the recipe was engraved and hearing the faint sound of Italian music in the distance.
On her birthday, my mom’s eyes lit up with surprise and delight as she unwrapped her gift. “How did you get my recipe card onto a cutting board? How did you think of this gift? How long did this take to make?” A few brief moments of silence and then finally, “I’m never going to use this, I want to display it in our kitchen.”
Every time I go home now, I love seeing her cutting board propped on a mini gold easel next to the stove. It was a special gift for her and would be for any birthday, Mother’s Day (even Father’s Day) or wedding shower.
My favorite part? The last line. “I love you, Mom.”