Ode to My Family
A friend just sent this along, and the top line says "Sounds wonderfully crazy, doesn't it?" I replied back that "Crazy? I have a name for it -- MY LIFE."
So, with thanks to my 35 first cousins (and their 30-odd children to date), 18 aunts and uncles, my sister, my parents and my two Italian grandmothers (still kicking at 81 and 89), and the cultural understanding they've gifted me with in the exercise of my job, I share this with all of you:
Italians have a $40,000 kitchen, but use the $259 stove from Sears in the basement to cook.-30-
There is some sort of religious statue in the hallway, living room, bedroom, front porch and backyard. The living room is filled with old wedding favors with poofy net bows and stale almonds (they are too pretty to open). A portrait of the Pope and Frank Sinatra in the dining room. God forbid if anyone EVER attempted to eat Chef Boy-are-Dee, Franco American, Ragu, Prego or anything else in a jar or can (tomato paste is the exception). Meatballs are made with Pork, Veal and Beef. We are Italians, we don't care about cholesterol.
Turkey is served on Thanksgiving, AFTER the manicotti, gnocchi, lasagna and soup. If anyone EVER says ES-CAROLE, slap 'em in the face -- it's SHCAROLE. If they ever say ITALIAN WEDDING SOUP, let the idiot know that there is no wedding, nor is there an Italian in the soup. Also, the tiny meatballs must be made by hand. No matter how hard you know you were going to get smacked, you still came home from church after communion, you stuck half a loaf of bread in the sauce pot, snuck out a fried meatball and chowed down you'll make up for it next week at confession. Sunday dinner was at 1:00.
The meal went like this... Table is set with everyday dishes...doesn't matter if they don't match...they're clean, What more do you want? All the utensils go on the right side of the plate and the napkin goes on the left. Put a clean kitchen towel at Nonna's & Papa's plate because they won't use napkins. Homemade wine and bottles of 7up are on the table.
First course, Antipasto...change plates. Next, Macaroni (Nonna called all spaghetti Macaroni)...change plates. After that, Roasted Meats, Roasted Potatoes, Over-cooked Vegetables... change plates.
THEN and only then (NEVER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MEAL) would you eat the salad (HOMEMADE OIL & VINEGAR DRESSING ONLY)...change plates. Next, Fruit & Nuts - in the shell (on paper plates because you ran out of the other ones).
Coffee with Anisette (Espresso for Nonna, "Merican" coffee for the rest) with hard Cookies (Biscottis) to dip in the coffee.
The kids go play...the men go to lay down. They slept so soundly you could perform brain surgery on them without anaesthesia.. the women clean the kitchen. Getting screamed at by Mom or Nonna - half the sentence was English, the
other half Italian...
Italian mothers never threw a baseball in their life, but can nail you in the head with a shoe thrown from the kitchen while you're in the living room.
Prom Dress that Zia Ceserina made you...$20.00 for material. Prom hair-do from Cousin Angela...$Free. Turning around at prom to see your entire family (including Godparents) standing in the back of the gym... PRICELESS!
.The true Italians will love this, those of you who are married to Italians will understand this, and those of you who are friends with Italians will remember and will forward it to their Italian friends.