CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio – Being 100 percent Italian, I was raised on traditional dishes. I took in the rich aromas of garlic and cheeses that wafted throughout the house, tore off bits of fresh Italian bread as I stole through the kitchen, and appreciated sauces that took all day to simmer.
With it came occasional cooking lessons. A little salt here, more oil there, stir occasionally, watch the pasta. And never, ever, overdo sugar in the gravy.
Yes, we called it gravy, not sauce.
A pinch of sugar, I was told, was used in the old country only to weed out the sourness of a bad tomato.
So when I sit down at an Italian restaurant I am armed with those life lessons.
M Italian, tucked away in Chagrin Falls, its quaintness always on display, is a bit louder than my home growing up – though not by much. M has a constant energy, a vibe that never quits, much like a child on the go wearing out her parents. The restaurant's high ceilings don't offer any reflection or buffer for sound.