New Haven Register (New Haven, CT)

Mama Basta: Food ‘good enough for your family’

- By Sarah Page Kyrcz

Family dinners at Grandma Mary’s were a Sunday staple. Between 15 and 40 cousins, aunts and uncles would gather around the table to indulge in good homecooked meals.

Nicole Ball remembers this family tradition from years gone by and carries it on, albeit on a smaller scale, with her husband, Joe, and their three children — Joseph, 9; John, 7; and June, 6.

Now, with the launch of her homemade meal delivery service, Ball is sharing her love of food and family with the community.

This Branford wife, mom and cook prides herself on creating dishes from scratch.

During the summer growing months, she frequents local farms procuring produce.

Other ingredient­s she purchases locally include produce from Branford’s Carbonella & Desarbo; bread for subs and sliders, West Haven’s Apicellas Bakery; pasta, West Haven’s Durante’s Pasta and cheese, East Haven’s Calabro Cheese and North Haven’s Luizzi Gourmet Food Market.

All of the sauces, dressings, spices mixtures, croutons and breadcrumb­s are specially created in the Mama Basta kitchen.

“There’s a lot of thought that goes into the flavor profile of every dish,” says Ball. “We don’t open a package of taco seasoning - we have created a blend of spices that we think is the best!”

The idea for Mama Basta percolated during the pandemic, with the first clients receiving food in July 2021.

After cooking and packaging, the food arrives in insulated bags, ready to be heated and served. Deliveries are made in Madison, Guilford, Branford, North Branford, East Haven and parts of New Haven.

“Our tagline is ‘Taking care of dinner’ and there’s truly no better feeling than dropping a week’s worth of meals on a doorstop and knowing we’ve made meal hour a little easier for that home,” Ball says.

Menus and ordering can be accessed via Facebook at Mama Basta or SurveyMonk­ey at h47U.

Ball attributes her business acumen in the food industry to working in the family business, D’Andrea Group Dunkin’ Donuts, for years.

“For me, I’ve always been in food service,” she says. “It was a huge thing to leave a very lucrative career. It’s terrifying, but it was on good terms and it was time.”

Mama Basta’s menu incorporat­es Italian American dishes with Tex Mex, comfort foods and “Instagramm­able dishes,” Ball explains.

“I try to do things that are trendy or things that I’m interested in, so I look at what’s going on online, what’s going on, what’s popular and trying to replicate that or come up with something on my own,” she says.

This Branford resident shares work space with cooks from a number of different food trucks in a Northford commissary kitchen. There, she shares the kitchen, but has her own 200-square-foot prep and dry storage area.

The business is steeped in Ball’s Italian heritage, from the food, to the name, to the logo.

 ?? Sarah Kyrcz / For Hearst Connecticu­t Media ?? Working side by side in the Mama Basta prep area are Hayley Wilmot, left, and owner Nicole Ball.
Sarah Kyrcz / For Hearst Connecticu­t Media Working side by side in the Mama Basta prep area are Hayley Wilmot, left, and owner Nicole Ball.

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