My nonna’s secret recipe

It was my nonna’s birthday last week. She would have turned 101 and I bet that she would have still looked just as I remember her. A gentle, kind soul with super soft skin and the sweetest smile.

Her name was Regina, Italian for queen, and she always had her hair up in a neat bun.

When at the beach she would never sunbathe, she’d just sit in the shade wearing a maxi sundress while keeping an eye on the numerous grandchildren she had.

We used to run around all day and she used to chase us with a bottle of sunscreen and la merenda”, a tea break that usually consisted of fruit…which was hardly our snack of choice…apricot juice and the occasional panino with Nutella.

At around 6 in the afternoon we’d start collecting all of our toys, a truly endless process, and we would walk home. It was then shower time. Another endless procedure that inevitably highlighted the fact that we should have worn sunscreen when nonna Gina told us to. We managed to gather new sunburns every day, no matter how much time she spent rubbing lotions on our skin. Back and shoulders were the most affected areas, ahhhh…all that sand digging in order to create the perfect castle!

But nonna had the secret recipe.

After shouting at us for a few minutes to express her disappointment, she would sit in the kitchen with a saucer filled with cold water and olive oil and she would start mixing the two with a teaspoon. She used to beat them like egg whites, for the longest time ever, whipping incessantly.

I can still remember what it sounded like and I also remember how warm the spoon felt afterwards. I guess the toned arms mission was easier to accomplish when you had no electric mixer.

My cousins and I would just silently sit and watch, as aghe e vueli” (Friulian for water and oil) were transformed into a white, smooth remedy that was going to heal our distressed skin.

And it worked, it really did. Not only it helped with sunburns, but it also soothed any skin irritation, nappy rash or redness one might have.

Needless to say, I have tried many times over the years to get the same creamy consistency, but never succeeded. Not to mention the fact that, whipping liquids using a saucer and a teaspoon, requires an impeccable balance and a flawless angle. Two crucial basics that you need in order to avoid spilling the whole thing on your clothes, hair or cat.

So, what is your family’s secret recipe? …oh come on! Sharing is caring.

Your BGGG xx