The socio-economic theory behind non-traditional families is one that sets ablaze to the overwhelming movement of Woman Empowerment. A new generation of young girls now look up and idolize their working mothers – picturing themselves as the next innovative engineer, inspiring entrepreneur or simply the boss behind a fortune 500 company; leaving behind the stigmas of gender-roles and the place of a woman in the kitchen.
With two young daughters under the age of 6, Christina Andreoli, stands tall in an era screaming “Girl Power,” and while the world rotates, every so slowly, trying to make room for the women looking to balance work and life, Andreoli is here to prove that a woman does not need to manage all details of the family life – including the nightly culinary choreography of the almighty dinner menu. For Andreoli, the purpose of life lies in the time spent with family, even if that takes place over a plate of mac-and-cheese and chicken nuggets. She is here to reinforce the notion that a woman’s role isn’t just about being in the kitchen, but instead about making time for the family and living life to the fullest.
“Eating is all about the social aspect. It is what makes the meal worthwhile – it is about the connections, the laughter and the time spent with family and friends but with two daughters, eating out isn’t always the best option. Honestly, my husband and I, try to avoid going to late dinners with the kids,” laughs Andreoli, President of Discover Central Massachusetts. “Let’s just say a liquid dinner of Pinot Grigio is fitting for some nights.”
Kids, husband, work, life and a dedication to serving up the best tourism and local business agenda for Central Massachusetts, are only but a few items on Andreoli’s daily checklist, therefore, scratching her head over dinner options is the least of her worries.
“I work a lot of hours – Discover Central Massachusetts is only but a year old and so, while dinner is something I look forward to, it is not because of my cooking skills. It is truly the time I have to spend with the family and even though my daughters do not have the same taste in dishes as we do, we compromise with a little breakfast for dinner. Some nights, pancakes, bacon and eggs is the meal that ends the day for us. It’s something that we can all agree on and we love it,” she says. “The weird part about my outlook of dinner time is that my sister and her husband are trained culinary Chefs! I mean, the man is the personal Chef for The Rock – which is great but with my lack of cooking obsession, I find that they speak a different language than me. They use culinary terminology that means nothing to me and their meals are impressive. So while they are preparing master dishes in the kitchen, I am making breakfast for dinner.”
While Andreoli may be a fan of breakfast for dinner, she inherits a deep root of her Italian heritage and can be easily inspired to throw down in the kitchen. “I am not a consistent cook at home. We do have days where mac-and-cheese is the best fitting meal but on days I feel inspired to cook, I can definitely create a great dish,” says Andreoli. “A trip down to Leroux in Holden, MA gives me enough inspiration to make, what my husband calls, ‘The best Pastrami sandwich ever.’ I grab some steak tips, potato salad, pastrami and Swiss cheese and go home to feel inspired but it doesn’t end there. On these days, making my signature calzone isn’t a far stretch and it’s pretty good. I buy fresh dough and mozzarellas and create a dish that everyone seems to love.”
Raised in an Italian home, where three meals a day were a must and you never said “No, thank you” to a meal offering, Lasagna made by grandma was a slice of Italian heaven. “I am into dining and wining and maybe that comes from my family’s bond to food but there is nothing greater than fine dining with friends. Grandma made the best lasagna the world could imagine, and it showed me the impact of food and people. It was great to see the dinner table lined with homemade sauces, fresh chesses and pressed pastas. It was the way of Sunday family dinners,” says Andreoli, smiling as she grew nostalgic for the abundance of family traditions. “While grandma made a great lasagna, I can honestly say that my least favorite meal growing up was the Poor Man’s Stew – you know, the one that had everything in it: beef, beets, mushroom sauce, mashed potatoes and who knows what else. It was never a favorite.”
Although, the local dining scene is the on the Andreoli checklist, it isn’t the ultimate dining goal for the her or her family. She is inspired to travel in search of mouthwatering flavors and rich wines. “Right now, we dine in the local scene at some of my favorite places like Smokestack, The Fix and Mezcal – on Cinco de Mayo, of course. It’s great to have a diverse local dining experience that can cater to the many food cravings, but ultimately, I am looking to follow my taste buds to the homeland and to Spain. I want to take advantage of destination dining and explore the various flavors of each country. Nothing beats a great plate of pasta in Italy, but while I am working on those big goals, I will continue to dine at some great local spaces,” she says, as she finishes up a delightful Nutella filled crepe at Lock 50.