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Grandma Frances Pellegrini invited me and my brother Gordon over for dinner recently. On the menu was chickpea and tomato soup among other things…

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She has a very special soup terrine that looks very lovely with soup in it. It dresses up even the simplest of soups. I have a feeling it has been in this house since her mother (my great-grandmother) lived here… but I’m not sure…

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I think these blue and white dishes have been too…

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She made melba toast from scratch to go along with the soup. It was airy and crunchy, and lightly salted. A very good melba toast.

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She has a particular way she likes the table to look while she’s eating… it should have the right balance of things on it, things that are attractive to look at. Like these pretty glass dishes with guacamole and chips in them… and nice cool white table wine…

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She created a very nifty cart for herself so she has all of her essential cooking and baking needs in one place. This way she doesn’t have to walk around the kitchen as much, and things will be accomplished more quickly…

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I finished all of my soup. It was very good. A can of stewed plum tomatoes and a can of chickpeas, plus the right kitchen air can be a magical thing.

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Grandma Pellegrini has very distinctive hands. They are very familiar to me. They are artists hands, and have been well occupied through the years…

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She has taken a lot of photographs with them… a mere fraction of which can be seen here.

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My brother Gordon is following in her footsteps, so he likes to pick her brain about all things photography when she’s up for it… she got out her lens to show him during dinner…

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And she let him borrow it for his photography classes…

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Then she turned on some jazz with her nifty remote control, another one of her efficiency tricks…

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One of my favorite things about Grandma Pellegrini’s house is all of the intriguing tools, and jars about the kitchen…

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These are not things you find in kitchens anymore… I’m not even certain how to use some of these things… I usually learn tips they never taught me in culinary school when I go into her kitchen.

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It is a very charming site.

After dinner, she went and found a box of photos to show him, some of which we had never seen before…

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And she remembered more important details about those days, shooting fashion covers and the streets of New York… “it sure was a different time,” she said…

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That was dinner at Grandma Pellegrini’s. We always leave full and a bit more enlightened.