A a new bride, Federico also got some tips on how to create the dishes her husband loves, such as veal limone and stuffed quahogs.
“When I got married, my mother-in-law taught me how to make a few of his favorite things,” she said.
These days, as Federico divides her schedule between work as a part-time special education teacher and seeing students through her private tutoring business in Newburyport, her husband shares much of the cooking duties. Her sons, 20, 17, and 14-year-old twins, all cook as well, she added.
On summer afternoons, groups of teenage boys can be found in the Federicos backyard using the pool and eating food cooked on the grill. With four teenage sons, Federico is used to making lots of food on a family budget. She searches for sales and stocks up when she finds them, she said. Shelves full of items like cans of sauce, coffee, pasta, and olive oil, can be found in her basement.
“Buy in bulk,” she said.
When she cooks, she will make large trays of food, she added, and then freeze the extra portions to use later. Marinara sauce, pasta, salad and bread will feed large groups of people, she added.
“We’re very fortunate living here, to have farmers’ market, and (specialty food stores), but we’re also fortunate to have both Market Basket and Shaw’s,” she said.
As her sons grow older and Federico watches time fly, she hopes to pass along some of her treasured childhood memories onto her boys. Each Sunday, Federico follows in her mother and grandmothers’ footsteps, and heads into the kitchen to prepare homemade meatballs and sausage with sauce.
“I want them to remember some of that,” she said.
Federico and her husband make it a priority to spend time with their sons, and work to ensure that one parent is always at home. As a young mother, she rejected well-intentioned advice from an older neighbor who urged her to find a regular Saturday night baby sitter so the couple could get out on weekends.