Exploring All the Pasta-bilities: Jill & Lilly’s Homemade Brings Fresh Pasta to E.C.
Jill Keiser is keeping her grandmother’s legacy going by sharing her homemade pasta
Being a Sicilian-American, Jill Keiser has been surrounded by pasta for nearly her entire life. Her grandmother, Lillian (or Lilly), constantly made fresh pasta and bread for the family when Keiser was a little girl. When Lilly could no longer make the fresh pasta, she taught Keiser’s father, who then went on to teach her.
“My grandmother, for as long as I can remember, was in these elaborate muumuus and an apron in the kitchen,” Keiser said. “My first food memory is of her ravioli, her big ricotta cheese ravioli that she would make 15 different varieties of.”
Now, Keiser is sharing her family’s passion for pasta with Eau Claire by selling it on Facebook. Jill and Lilly’s Homemade Pasta page started in early April of this year and has since grown to have more than 400 members.
“I really honed in on pasta making these last couple of years, throughout COVID-19,” Keiser said. “I’m a Michigan native, so it was something that made me feel connected to my family. It was something that gave me peace, it was something that was special, that brought my family together and everybody was always super excited to sit down for an elaborate pasta dinner.”
Keiser has already made and sold many different types of pasta such as culurgiones, fettuccini, pappardelle, mushroom mezzaluna, and ravioli. She prepares the food at Forage (403 S. Barstow St.) on Tuesdays and Sundays, and she offers curbside pickup on those days.
Jill & Lilly’s Homemade has met all of the health department codes including pre-inspections at the Forage kitchen, a licensed freezer in Keiser's home, registering for a seller’s permit, and taking food expertise courses.
She drops new pasta every week for sale and offers sauce pairing suggestions. You can also find Jill & Lilly’s Pasta at Five & Two Cafe (6025 Arndt Lane). In the future, Keiser is hoping to start selling pasta sauces along with her noodles and create more partnerships around the community to be able to spread her homemade pasta everywhere.
“I would love to eventually have some sort of storefront where I could sell pasta and sauce,” Keiser said. “But really my main goal is to make it as accessible as possible for the community.”
Keiser is originally from Detroit but moved to Eau Claire nearly four years ago with her husband. They have three children, and Keiser often uses them to test out her new pasta. Keiser worked as a teacher in an elementary school for nine years but switched gears after having her third child.
“It was really easy to feel like we were a part of the community,” Keiser said. “And Eau Claire is very family-oriented and very sweet. I feel like in this phase of [our family’s] life, it’s perfect.”
You can find and buy from Jill & Lilly’s Homemade Pasta on the Facebook page: Jill & Lilly's Homemade.