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Food Bites: Scrippelles

I am not delusional today. I know this is not a hoagie but I wanted to write a quick post about my favorite family food in the whole world. One that beats hoagies based on its general unavailability. Scripppelles*.

My maternal grandmother was an amazing Italian cook and baker. We were fortunate to grow up across the street from her and my grandfather where there was a constant assembly line of homemade Italian foods and desserts (my grandfather was an incredible cook also. Cue the images of him blocking the kitchen with plywood to put live crabs on the floor. He would then pick them up one-by-one to cook 'em.

My grandmom's name was Pasqualina, and everyone called her Pat. She was the unofficial mayor of South Philly. You have a pothole on your corner? Call Pat. A street light burned out? Call Pat. She was also well known on a.m. radio station WPEN as "Pat from South Philly". She once won a bunch (yes, a bunch) of mattresses from the radio station but refused to take them. "What am I going to do with mattresses? You keep them!" (possible expletives included). Once a friend's mom from the burbs said she was listening to the radio and got this incredible recipe for a chocolate cake. It was called "Better than Sex" from a lady in South Philly. Maybe I knew her? My face turned bright red (I was really shy back then) because I knew my grandmom won the previous mentioned mattresses based on this incredible cake recipe.

My grandparents' recipes are not widely found in restaurants or cook books. They were from Southern Italy in Abruzzo and Calabria, where dishes from this region are hard to find in the US. Another favorite included sweet ravioli with cinnamon which I did find at Springfield Pasta. She also made fried dough which went into soup as dumplings, and her incredible homemade beans and macaroni (minestrone-ish).

She passed away in 1999, but prior to that, I made an attempt to capture some of her recipes since she never wrote them down nor provided actual measurements. As a cooking novice at the time, I couldn’t even imagine not having the measurements. I get it now. Below is the Scrippelles recipe I captured on one of her many notepads from her doctor's office. I've also included a few cool sites that give comprehensive recipes and videos as I have only concentrated on eating these instead of making them. I vow to make them this year and post a video as I do.

Scrippelles are thin crepes that are rolled up tight with "macaroni cheese" (aka pecorino romano cheese) and black pepper then placed in very hot chicken broth. The beauty is in their simplicity and the patience required to make them one by one in a skillet. Literally, when my grandmom made these, it was a miracle any made it to the table and into the soup because my brothers and I (and anyone else around, including neighbors and friends of friends) would eat a bunch before placing them in the soup. Somehow, there was always an abundance, and this was based on her dedicating an entire day to make them.

Today, when my mom makes these, my brothers and I trip over each other to get our fair share. My husband knows to just step aside, as there will be none for him. There have been times when I've missed the boat entirely, and I stewed over it for days. But this past weekend was different. My mom offered to make Scrippelles just for me and my family. She made a ton. Not only did she make Scripplelles but she made pizzelles with her new pizzelle iron. Dreams achieved! Happily, she sent us home with extras of both. I will finish the soup today but the cookies didn’t last the weekend. My latest challenge is that my 10-year old daughter now loves these. No surprise as she was named after my grandmom with her middle name being Petria (my take on Pasqualina). Here's a few pictures.

Have you ever tried these? Post your memories below. Planning to make these? Post your pics. I promise you will not be disappointed.

Notable recipes from others, but first:

HoagieLOVE Pro Tip #1: Many recipes call for romano or pecorino romano cheese. Nothing beats specifically using Locatelli brand pecorino romano cheese for these. I prefer to buy the block and grate it finely myself but it also comes grated from the grocery store or Italian specialty market.

HoagieLOVE Pro Tip #2: Make sure that your chicken broth is very hot so it can quickly penetrate the Scrippelles and bring out the flavor of the cheese.

HoagieLOVE Pro Tip #3: Add ground red pepper before eating to add some heat.

*Spelling seems to vary depending on the person, but I think "Scrippelle" is the correct spelling.

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