As a little girl, I perceived my mother’s kitchen as a mysterious and intriguing place where sights and smells and sounds converged to become yummy things for me to eat. Of course, I understood nothing about the art and science of cooking. I only knew that after the swooshing of knives, the clinking of whisks, the stirring of pots and the fragrance of garlic and herbs harmoniously sautéing on the stove that I wasn’t allowed to touch, something wonderful and delicious would magically emerge. I looked and I listened, and soon I became pretty good at guessing what Mom was making by observing her various “kitchen dances”.
Among the sounds that always brought me running into her kitchen were “tzzzzt” and “tsssss”. I knew them well. They were the sounds that a cutlet makes as it first meets the surface of a hot pan, followed by the gentle, telltale sizzle that follows as it fries into a mouthwatering golden, crunchy, meaty medallion. Cutlets were one of my favorite foods when I was growing up, and they still are. My mother made them Milanese-style, dipped in egg and seasoned Italian bread crumbs, and served them alongside copious amounts of stewed tomatoes. I’d positively drown my cutlets in that sweet, lovely stewed tomato juice! I can’t help but moan just thinking about it. It was heaven!