Caroline Manzo recently announced that she's recovering from an unspecified surgery — and she's using food to aid in that recovery, turning to recipes for inspiration, joy, and simply to "pass the time while I heal."
And now, The Real Housewives of New Jersey alum known for her family Sunday suppers is opening up about another time she was laid up with a medical problem, and used recipes as a healthy part of coping.
Speaking on the Kitchen Chat podcast, Caroline recalled, "What I did for my daughter — she’s a good cook, but she'll always call me, 'Mom how do you make this, how do you make that?' So two years ago I broke my foot and I was stuck in a chair for weeks — and months really, I couldn’t walk. I decided let me get all my recipes and put them down in the computer," she said. "And I printed the photos and I put them in a binder. And I said you know what? I want her to have these recipes, but I want her to have them in my hand."
So using her time confined in a sitting position, Caroline changed course.
"I took all my recipes and I got a book," she said. "And I wrote in the beginning of the book, 'Lauren, this is from me to you. And you’re probably not going to be able to read everything because my handwriting is atrocious. But I want you to think of me when you make these recipes. And I want you to pass these down to your children because I want you — I need you — to know how special it was for me to see my children laughing around the table and enjoying the food that I cooked. The food that I learned to cook as a little girl, from my mom, my mother in law, my grandparents, whatever.' I said I wish the same for you and your family."
At that, Lauren couldn't keep it together. "My daughter is a spitfire and she read it and she cried," Caroline recalled on the podcast. "She said, 'Mom, this is really a treasure.' So that’s how deeply in our soul" food is rooted, she said.
"To us, food is love. There's nothing better to me than a Sunday… my kids all come… and that for me is the best gift ever to have my children in their 30s still want to be home, still want to be with us cooking. and what a wonderful gift to give your children."
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