By IMPERIAL VALLEY PRESS STAFF
5:45 PM PDT, June 19, 2012
Preparing delicious Sicilian cuisine is second nature to Brawley resident Santina (Tina) Gates. While growing up in Pedagaggi, Sicily, off the southern coast of Italy, she learned from the one person she considers to be the greatest cook ever — her mother.
There were no standardized recipes in those days — her mother made up everything her head — a tradition that Tina follows to this day. You certainly won’t hear any complaints from her husband, retired banker and local photographer Bill Gates. They have been married for 53 years and have raised three beautiful daughters, Marisa (married to John Muse), Lisa (to Mike Arthun) and Sabrina (to Dave Schaffer), who have blessed Tina and Bill with seven grandchildren.
Sharing delicious food with friends and family is another treasured Sicilian tradition and today is no exception. Preparing a dish she calls Santina Ragu alla Siciliana — pork chops stewed in a homemade sauce over pasta topped with asparagus — Tina confides that she cooks without recipes and makes most of her dishes from all fresh ingredients. “My mother made the best fresh tomato sauce. Each morning vendors would come to the front of the street with carts full of fresh vegetables and fruits,” Tina remembers. “Mama made tomato sauce fresh every day during the tomato season. Across the street we even had our own lot where my father grew fresh produce for use in our kitchen.”
Find the Santina Ragu alla Siciliana recipe and read more about Santina Gates in the May/June 2012 edition of Valley Women Magazine in print or our online E-Edition.
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