One of the most rewarding aspects of our mission at Bellangela Italian Cuisine, is the praises and the stories we receive from our customers, about how our recipes have brought back memories from childhood, or about how food has brought the family and friends together for an unforgettable experience. This year, a Bellangela customer wrote to us about what our lasagna means to her, and this is so special we need to share with the rest of the world… enjoy!
Lasagna: A Love Story
by Beáta Jachulski Baker, a loving and fierce Bellangela’s Customer
I came to lasagna late in life. As a first-generation American child in a Polish household in the 1950s with a Mama who cooked every day, I grew up with amazingly delicious food made with fresh ingredients. It just was not Italian food. My brother and I would occasionally split some Chef Boyardee Spaghetti and Meatballs for lunch, but that was thought of as an “American” meal for us because it came out of a can.
I was probably 20 years old the first time I had lasagna at a friend’s house: frozen Stouffer’s. We were poor college students and it met all our requirements: It was cheap, filling, salty, and rich with fat. It made me a little dizzy. I fell in love with it. To me, it was different and exotic, and very satisfying.
Over the years I never bought frozen lasagna for my own household, but I loved it when it would show up. Costco lasagna always seemed to reign at community events because it was a good way to feed a lot of people for not much money. I have eaten dozens of servings at potlucks, picnics, funerals, and do-it-yourself weddings, and that first-love rush of salty and cheesy has always felt like fun food — without feeling like genuinely good food.
I met Chef Angela Belli of Bellangela Italian Cuisine in 2019, shortly before my 65th birthday. I was planning a daytime lunch party for a group of girlfriends, and their various dietary needs would require including vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options. I checked out Chef Angela’s website and saw she offered dishes that encompassed all those parameters, so I hired her to cater the lunch. Naturally one of my entrée choices was lasagna, her artichoke version. I was a little skeptical about how gratifying a no-meat, no-tomato sauce lasagna was going to be, but I was willing to try something new. After all, it was still lasagna.
I will never forget my first bite. The delicate pasta. The firm delicious artichokes. The velvety béchamel sauce and creamy mozzarella cheese. The tastes! Not just salt, but actual fresh-ingredient herbs and flavors. It was decadent. It was savory. It felt sinfully rich but good for me at the same time. I fell in love all over again. It took reaching the ripe old age of 65 for me to finally experience the real deal when it comes to lasagna. But it was thrilling to fall in love again in a completely different way.
I can meet up with my new true love anytime I want just by ordering from the Fresh Frozen Food selections on Chef Angela’s website at bellangelacooking.com. In addition to her Artichoke Lasagna, she also offers a seasonal Lasagna thick with sausage and pumpkin, as well as Classic Lasagna, made with her slow-simmered Bolognese ragu rich with ground beef, tomato sauce, and a secret ingredient.
Bellangela Lasagna is nothing like my first lasagna love. It doesn’t taste salty or fatty, and it’s not cheap. But it does make me dizzy like before, only this time from sheer deliciousness. It’s the one I’ve been waiting for. It’s the love I deserve.
Grazie Beáta, so happy for your love for our Lasagna!