But the 66-year-old hair stylist and wedding officiant wants to make something clear: there’s no competition between her and Edith; just friendly banter. “Edith was a fabulous cook, and I hope to God she doesn’t take offense to what I was saying, because her guacamole might’ve been the best I’ve ever had. It was so good and fresh. But it was fresh onions, fresh garlic. There’s garlic in my meatballs, there’s no onion. So it had to be the onions. And because I ate a lot of it and totally overindulged. So even though I blame the guacamole, I loved it.”
Now, with that settled, let’s move on to Susan’s famous meatballs, which she tells Glamour she’s been making pretty much since she was born. Her nana, who was from Italy (specifically the region of Abruzzo), taught her everything she knows about cooking. “I was hanging on her apron strings wanting to learn,” Susan says. “So since I was a little girl, I knew how to make them.”
But when Susan got to the Golden Bachelor mansion, she quickly learned she was a long way from her home in Philadelphia. “I said, ‘I want to make meatballs and sausage and gravy, so I need milk, beef, and pork.’ And [production] looked at me and said, ‘What is that?’ I go, ‘Are you serious? I’m going to make meatballs.’ They go, ‘Well, what do you mean? You mean meat?’ I said, ‘Veal, beef and pork.’ They looked at me like I had two heads.”
Members of the production team fulfilled Susan’s grocery list, but they also underestimated just how much meat she’d need. And so, back to the store they went. “I told them to get a lot of it, and they brought me a pound back. I said, ‘That’s not going to feed anybody. You’re going to have to go back to the store.’ Yeah, they weren’t ready for that,” she says with a laugh. “East Coast people know this stuff. They also brought in frozen lasagna, but I said, ‘I’m not eating that. I’ll cook every night. I don’t care.’”
And cook she did. From chicken piccata to her famous meatballs, Susan established herself as this season’s MVP, from her expertise in the kitchen to doing her fellow contestants’ hair. (She was a hairstylist for 30 plus years).