Gratitude, Day 23: Walter’s Mother’s Gremolata

NOTE: I am a fan of 30-day challenges, and November is traditionally a time of two: National Novel Writing Month, and 30 Days of Thanks. As I am not a fiction writer, this year I have chosen to publish a daily blog for the entire month, expressing my gratitude. This may not be entirely food-focused, but expect recipes aplenty. Feel free to join me in the comments below. What are you thankful for today?

A ray of sunshine.
A ray of sunshine.

Today is the day before my daughter’s ex-boyfriend’s birthday.

I know. It’s weird.

But I really liked this kid. Smart, polite, funny, clever, and a caring human and good boyfriend.

Tomorrow is Walter’s birthday, and I still think about him.

I know. That’s weird, too.

Why they broke up is none of my business, but what is my business is the fact that just three days before things ended we all went over to Walter’s parents house (me, Sicily, and Sicily’s godparents, Mark and Kerry, and their two boys) and had dinner.

And I LOVED Walter’s family.

Funny, kind, liberal, warm, welcoming, open, honest. All of them from both kids to the parents and all the way back again.

I am not the most social of people, but Walter’s family went out of their way to make me feel comfortable, or at least that’s what it felt like, which is what good hosts do.

Walter’s mom, Susan, made me feel immediately at home as I walked in with my salted caramel cheesecake pie. I told her that I break the cardinal rule of potlucks every time, which is don’t make something for the first time for a potluck, and the cheesecake pie was no exception.

“Oh,” she said, “I did the exact same thing and always do.”


After the kids broke up, Susan and I emailed a couple times, hoping to get together, but nothing came of it, and maybe that’s as it should be (or maybe not. I am still hopeful).

I did come away with the recipe for the gremolata she served on the steak that night, and I have made it several times since that dinner.

Today I am thankful for that Walter’s mother’s gremolata.

I miss Walter and his family, but we’ll always have the gremolata.

Walter’s Mother’s Gremolata


1 1/2 cups packed mint leaves (I used half mint, half parsley)

1/2 cup shelled, roasted pistachios

2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 2 cloves)

2 teaspoons lemon zest

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil


Place all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to chop. You are looking for a pesto-like consistency, not a paste, so don’t overblend.

Serve on meat, chicken, crackers, toast, whatever. It’s fucking delicious.

What are you grateful for?

(image source)