Rocca Stars in the Kitchen
Guess who's here to dish on cooking with the nation's most beloved nannas (and poppas)! Daily Show vet Mo Rocca, whose Cooking Channel series, My Grandmother's Ravioli, kicks off its second season this month.
By David Farley
Q: How did the show get its name?
A: My granmother made pasta from scratch, and her ravioli were big pockets stuffed with ground beef, spinach and garlic with a light tomato sauce. They were delicious – and large and light and delicate. So when Nora Ephron was a guest on my NPR show, Wait Wait … Don't Tell Me!—and I was talking about the inspiration for my new cooking show—she pointed out that My Grandmother's Ravioli was the obvious name. I loved going back to the network people to say not only did I have a great name, but Nora Ephron helped me come up with it.
Q: How do you decide who will be featured?
A: We want people who really care about cooking. They also have to have a good personality, but not in that crazy reality TV way. These are people you actually want to be related to.
Q: The show has you cooking with grandmas from everywhere. Have you found a universal ingredient?
A: Garlic. Everyone uses it. In fact, my own Italian grandmother's apartment always smelled like garlic.
Q: What's been the biggest surprise?
A: Almost none of the grandmothers measure ingredients. And grandfathers measure even less! They're extreme non-measurers!
Q: Beyond recipes, what have you learned?
A: How to cut onions without crying. From a Pakistani grandfather, actually, I learned that you should drink a glass of red wine before cutting them. Though he may just have wanted an excuse to drink wine.
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