Mass Producing Good Food

An avid math enthusiast, John’s favorite and most used quote is, “Ugh, I just love math so much” or something along those lines. He plays soccer on the WashU Men Club Soccer Team and enjoys taking long runs in Forest Park. His go-to meal is the carvery wrap offered at WashU, found at the Law School Cafe and Holmes Lounge, so consequently he frequents the two places for lunch as often as he can.

When most people think of Christmas food, they conjure up images of ham and creamy mashed potato swimming in pools of brown gravy. For John, his Italian family does something a little bit different.

“My family makes ravioli. Every year, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, my entire family gets together and make over 1000 raviolis. We hand-make these the entire day and then we eat them on Christmas. It’s a tradition we’ve been having for so long, it’s just kind of ingrained into my brain that come Thanksgiving, we make raviolis. I think it makes the Thanksgiving season better.

We basically get into an assembly line and everyone has a role that they usually carry over year to year, and we absolutely crank out ravioli for a couple of hours. Then we take a break for lunch (which is usually leftover thanksgiving food since it’s the Saturday after thanksgiving) and we chill, then we get back to it and go until we run out of ingredients. My Auntie Joanne then goes down and counts all the ravioli and we all celebrate once we get the final count. At the end, we take all of the scrap dough from the ravioli-making process and make homemade pasta for dinner, and it’s wicked good.

“wicked good” homemade pasta

Usually, someone ends up playing “Mambo Italiano” at some point, so that sets the mood pretty much. Just your typical, big chaotic Italian family trying to work together.

It kind of connects me to my Italian heritage. I, obviously, live in America, but we still have some family back in Italy.

I think the recipe for the ravioli is from my great great great grandmother. I mean, it’s been passed down for a really long time. I think my grandma started the tradition, but the recipe’s been in the family for awhile

It’s a pretty generic meat ravioli. We have this family pot roast recipe, and we grind it and use it as the meat filling. We don’t eat it the normal way with marinara sauce, but usually in a broth, like a chicken broth. It’s more of a soupy dish than the standard pasta.

We only do this for Christmas but whatever leftovers we have, and we’ll usually have a bunch, we eat for Easter. This “ritual” is always at my grandma’s house. It’s like that one time a year I get to see all my cousins at the same time at the same place.”

This week is a tough week for everyone. It’s final season, and John has 3 exams today: statistics, economics, and calculus 3. He does like math, but taking three exams on one day is a lot to handle. It’s also raining and cold (45 degrees in May?! It was warmer in December). Kudos to John for handling himself so well and for letting me interview him! Here’s his final quote:

“Sorry, I didn’t say much. I would be more sentimental if I weren’t dying on the inside.”


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