Try their Recipes
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Jesse Macro, a Des Moines attorney, is getting his wish for the second time. He is passing along the Italian traditions that he learned from watching his mother create and sharing them with his younger daughter, Sophia, who is a senior at Roosevelt High School.
“It’s really great,” Sophia says. “I get to talk a lot with my dad, but I also get to learn about all the Italian dishes that my grandma made for Dad and his growing-up family in Chicago.”
When they started this cooking experience, Sophia was in grade school, and she loved to bake, especially cupcakes. Jesse is not a baker, so it worked out well for the duo. “I did learn that he doesn’t like to follow directions. He would rather wing it when it comes to recipes,” she says. “As in, he is not afraid to substitute ingredients he doesn’t like. You can’t do that with baking.”
It works for her, too
And how about Venessa Macro, wife and mother of Sophia? “I don’t like to cook at all, so this works out great. I guess you could say that I value a clean kitchen more than making a meal. I would fix cereal or frozen waffles,” she says with a smile. Venessa is Chief Administrative Officer at Drake University. Jesse has planned and cooked meals for the 29 years of their marriage. The two met as students at Drake’s Law School. Jesse is an attorney with Macro and Kozlowski, LLP.
Jesse and Sophia have had fun during the COVID era. Sophia decided she wanted to eat vegetarian, so the two of them have worked on converting recipes. “We also decided to learn to make sushi, which is great fun to prepare. We also got Dad a dumpling steamer for Christmas last year, so we have enjoyed that, too.”
They also prepared the Feast of the Seven Fishes, which is a traditional Christmas Eve meal in many Italian families. They made such items as Calamari, Baked Clams, Oysters Rockefeller, and Fried Shrimp.
Sophia and her friends also enjoy experimenting with food. “Not long ago we had a dip party, where everyone brought different dips to share. What a good time.” They also have made gluten-free items and rated them.
Lots of activities
Sophia is busy with lots of activities. She is president of her 4-H club and serves on the Polk County 4-H Council. She is a member of the DMI Dance Force, a competitive dance group, and also plays rugby for Roosevelt. She plans to attend college to major in fashion design. For the second year, she attends the fashion design course at Central Campus. The prom dress she made last year won Best of Show at the Iowa State Fair.
For the record, Jesse did the same food program with his older daughter, Liz, a graduate of Creighton University in Omaha, who is a videographer for Newsweek in Washington, D.C. She is eight years older than Sophia.
Needless to say, it seems that the teach-at-home plan is a win/win for everyone involved. •