What Mo Rocca Learned from Grandmas

Mo Rocca, the host of My Grandmother’s Ravioli on the Cooking Channel Photo © Courtesy of the Cooking Channel
By Mo Rocca Posted November 24, 2014

From cooking tips to the secret to domestic bliss, here's what Mo Rocca learned from grandparents across the nation.

From cooking tips to the secret to domestic bliss, here's what Mo Rocca learned from grandparents across the nation.

I used to think it was acceptable, maybe even charming, that I didn’t know how to cook—until I got to my mid-40s, and I realized it was just pathetic. Unfortunately, I lost my grandmother, the woman who lovingly prepared sumptuous Sunday dinners for the whole family (to be clear, I didn’t actually “lose” her—she died). So I did the next logical thing: I got myself a TV show where I could learn to cook from other people’s grandparents. Over three seasons of My Grandmother’s Ravioli, I’ve learned a whole lot from more than 40 grandparents in kitchens all over the country.

On Cooking
Most grandparents have little use for measuring—“a little bit of this, a little bit of that” is as far as they go. Irish grandma Peggy Guiliano from Caldwell, New Jersey, doesn’t even measure when she bakes her scones. “I trust in the Lord,” she says.

On Grooming
I’m not sure if it’s some biological predisposition, but grandmothers can’t stand facial hair. Mary Gray from Fishkill, New York, rails against the “young, good-looking men hiding their faces behind mustaches and beards.” I’m sure Mary would have even asked James Beard to shave off his mustache before he ever set foot in her kitchen. (FYI: James Beard didn’t have a beard. If he did, Mary wouldn’t have let him in the house.)

On Domestic Peace
Joenie and Bill Haas have been married for more than 40 years, and they built their Minnesota 
lake house together log by log. How did they not turn their power tools on each other at least once? Joenie says they walk away from fights and make lunch dates at restaurants to talk things over. As for who picks up the check, I suppose that depends on who wins the fight. —As told to Kate Heddings

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