As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a great cook. My grandma taught me why that mattered.

In the early ‘50s my granddad, Salvatore Cuomo, set sail for England from Naples with his new bride. See, my granddad was a POW in Nottinghamshire during World War II. After the war ended, something compelled him to stay. And so he hung around, picked up a job, and fell in love with the English way of life. He secured a well-paying job and needed a homegrown woman by his side — my grandma, Gerardina. Nonna (the Italian for grandmother) came from a large family — she had seven brothers — and always had plenty of people to take care of. Shoes to shine, laundry to fold, dinner to cook. Transplanted to the UK, she was suddenly at a loss. Salvatore worked all day. She didn’t speak a lick of English. So what did she do?

She adapted.