Aurora, Ohio — Twenty years ago, when Linda Priscilla was cooking for 75 people who came to her mother’s 80th birthday party, she had no idea the celebratory moment would lead to a Business.
“I prepared lasagna, chicken parmesan and pasta and invited everyone,” Priscilla said. “Everyone raved about the sauce. They told me ‘Bring this to market, it’s really good stuff. “I took a moment and then my husband talked about it and said, ‘Yeah, that does sound like a good idea, I think we’ll do it.'”
Linda and her husband Jim are slowly retiring. They built the business and involved their adult children — their daughter was a label designer, and their son helped with store demos. Doing a demo will get them out of the house and they will have the opportunity to meet new people.
Things have gone according to plan.
Grandma’s Recipe makes a range of sauces under the name Full Fork. The company sells four variants—spicy meaty, mild meaty (“there’s a lot of meat in it,” she says), sweet basil marinara and traditional marinara. Pizza sauce came quickly.
Ironically, Priscilla is not Italian. Well, maybe a DNA test could find traces, she said, but she’s always loved Italian food.
“Even when my husband and I are on a date, I always eat Italian food every time we go out. Just something about Italian food. To this day, I still love it. It’s only been a year that I can’t eat Italian food anymore, That’s when we tried to make this marketable; I ate so much. Now that we’re back on track, I still love it.”
They started the company 10 years ago. The following summer, they moved into Hae-young, Jim said. They work from their home in Aurora. The sauce is made in Solon.
Priscilla works in accounts receivable while her husband is an auto technician at a General Motors dealership in Bedford. He retired in 2018 and she retired a year later. Retirement gigs have blossomed, allowing more time in the sauce business, they said, and they also hope to get into restaurants.
But it all started with a party celebrating Priscilla’s mom, Rosie.
“Everyone has a feast,” Priscilla said. “They just came over. Don’t ask me why I’m all Italian. Others seem to like it too.”
Priscilla owns the company, her first food business. She said the basil marinara was the best seller, and the enchilada was also selling well.
The company’s name is a tribute to Rosie, who made the sauce, and her grandmother, Helen. Priscilla said they were both Eastern European and from the former Yugoslavia. The country is now split into separate states, located in eastern Italy, across the Adriatic Sea. This may explain the Italian influence on her cooking.
“I think the whole of Eastern Europe is like a melting pot of so many different backgrounds,” Jim Priscilla said. “I think that’s where all this comes from, because it’s so diverse, you know, from Italy and Greece and Turkey, to France and Germany and so on. All these countries, it’s this group of people.”
The name “Full Fork” came after Priscilla of Columbus and her daughter cobbled together about 100 different names, she said.
“My daughter and I, when we decided to do this, we were really excited,” Priscilla said. “So we sat on the phone for over an hour and just threw things out there. We thought, ‘This is like a whole fork of spaghetti sauce. When you put it on your fork, it’s not going to run off … it’s really nice and thick. So that’s why we came up with “Full Fork.”
The sauce is available in Hai Ying, several Giant Eagle Market areas, Whole Foods, Dave’s Market, and several other stores. The couple say they have also been contacted by Meijer and are also interested in the sauce.
I am here Cleveland Net‘s life and culture team covering topics related to food, beer, wine and sport. If you want to see my story, This is the directory on cleveland.com. Bill Wills of WTAM-1100 and I usually talk about food and drinks on Thursdays at 8:20am. Twitter: @mbona30.
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