MARGATE — The eyes of Johanne Santori’s oldest grandchildren peer out from pictures on the side of her refrigerator.

Besides her husband of 59 years, Adeo Santori, the people who mean the most to Santori, 79, are her four sons and nine grandchildren. They are the ones who merit a place of honor in her Happy Place, which is her kitchen.

“I have been living in this house, in this kitchen, practically all my life since 1969,” Santori said. “We have redone this kitchen once already because we cooked for four sons. They grew up here, so you know how hungry they could be. Now, we have the family coming for all the occasions and holidays.”

Santori, the state administrator of Ms. New Jersey Senior America, said her kitchen used to contain the type of grill that could be seen in a restaurant, where she would make steaks for her family.

When Santori’s grandson and his friends stay over her house in the summertime now, she makes them a different breakfast every morning from pancakes to French toast to crepes to eggs.

Santori’s 10-foot by 12-foot kitchen is a pretty decent size if she is alone in the room. She is not far away from anything. She doesn’t have huge steps to take all the time, which can be found in big kitchens.

But, when Santori’s daughter-in-laws and sons are around, she tells them to leave her kitchen if they try to help her.

“I love to cook,” said Santori, who is French-Canadian and was raised in a hotel. “I was surrounded by food all the time, all my life.”

Staff Writer

Twenty years as a staff writer in the features department, specializing in entertainment and the arts at The Press of Atlantic City.

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