Nicky’s dream has always been one of being a Pastry Chef… years ago, when he was about 10 years old, while flipping the TV channels, he came about a show on the Food Network when a sweet old lady (as he tells the story) was making soup. I think it may have been Paula Deen, not sure! He said it looked delicious, and he started following her show. He became enamored with all the sweets she made and shortly thereafter the show ‘Unwrapped’ became his favorite. This was very bizarre in a way, since Nicky could not swallow much, let alone eat a whole lot. He has had a g-tube to supply nutrition to him since he was 3.5 years old.
Nicky problems started when he was 9 months old when a severe bout of vomiting blood after eating baby food sent us to the ER. This was in 1997, we had no idea that his EB could effect his esophagus. We knew it was effecting his mouth, as I had to pop blisters in his mouth several times, but all the literature we found didn’t mention the esophagus and at this point the only other parent we had found had a baby younger than Nicky. The blind leading the blind.
The ER could not find anything on their X-rays which lead us to the conclusion that the blood was from a blood blister in his esophagus that had burst. The problem with these is that they make the esophagus shrink and in the years to come even baby food became impossible to swallow for him. By the time he was 3 years old, Nicky could only swallow liquids, and even those would take forever to ‘go down’. Even saliva was hard to swallow, I used to have to put a towel over his pillow to catch the saliva overnight. He weighed 21lb at 3.5 years old, when we put the g-tube on him and did a throat dilatation at Stanford, at 9 months he weighed 18lb. That’s how much the throat effected his growth. It was particularly sad for me because prior to his blood incident, Nicky was a big eater, he loved to eat and would never refuse food. He ate and ate and ate.
When we went to Disneyland in 2009, just prior to my husband’s stroke, we walked by a sweets shop that sold ‘Funnel Cakes’ and he was so happy! This kid was happier to be able to taste a Funnel Cake than actually being in Disneyland! I make it a point to make cupcakes or muffins every week with frosting on top. Not only my husband and my youngest son devour them, Nicky can eat the batter and the frosting, and it makes his day.
On our way down to Carrara Pastries I asked Nicky if there was something in particular he wanted to make and he proudly exclaimed… GELATO!!! I told him that this was a Pastry shop, not an ice-cream shop, so imagine our surprise when we arrived and they made their own, with fresh fruit, every day! All the ingredients and the machinery are imported from Italy. Honestly, as I walked in there, I felt I was in Italy. HOME!!!!!
Damiano not only had a special Chef jacket made for him embroidered with his name on it, but he also got him another ‘Italian’ shirt with his name embroidered as well. Amazing!!!
During the day, Nicky was able to to also help out making ‘Torta Della Nonna’! We got to take these home and when Connor tasted them he said “This is heaven in my mouth”!!! I honestly need to go back and get some of these, especially for my kid’s birthdays. They make birthday cakes as well. These Tiramisu’ looked particularly delicious!!!
I want to make sure to thank Gina Silva… she’s honestly, so sweet and so caring. The Carrara brothers, especially Damiano, were just amazing and caring. The fact that I could speak Italian to them was just beyond anything I could ever expect or wish for. Nicky got his dream, and got a little trip to Italy. What’s not to love?
Here’s the video below. Thank you everyone for your kindness and Many Blessings to you!