A Little Bit of Magic

I’m afraid I don’t believe in magic anymore. When I was young, I used to think there was some magic in the world and things could happen because you willed them to.

I still think my mom willed herself to win on the Price is Right. She was determined like that. All you had to do was look at her and it was clear, if she wanted something to happen, it was going to happen.

Today is St. John the Baptist day, which is why I’m thinking of her. Continue reading

Pasta Sundays

Uncle Richard at Christmas

Uncle Richard at Christmas, in my, “My Sauce is Better Than Yours Apron.”My daughter says his sauce really is better.

I was talking to my Uncle Richard over the weekend. He was telling me how he misses the days when his grandkids were little and he used to cook every Sunday.
His lucky daughter, son-in-law and their kids, along with my dad,  were invited over every Sunday to eat pasta. He’d make a different pasta every week, including rigatoni, linguini with clams, gnocci, lasagne, aglio olio and others, and they were all great. Now he just cooks for himself and my aunt because everyone’s either grown up, dead, or too busy, and he says it’s not the same. He misses the family. Continue reading

Justta Follow Da Recipe!

My mom was a born competitor, and proof is in this cornbread story. (The other corroborating evidence is in my Six Simple Words That Can End Your Life  post, where I narrowly escaped death by paring knife.) Continue reading

Answer the Phone

Uncle Richard

Uncle Richard. He is as cool as he looks.

My Uncle Richard called me today. He’s one of my favorite people on earth. Not just because he’s my father’s brother and a wonderful family man, but also because he’s not afraid to be silly.

He does a version of the Tarantella, an Italian dance they do at weddings (Tarantella means tarantula in Italian) where he bends his knees and dances around hunched over, looking more like a rooster than a tarantula. Then he grabs you, looks you straight in the eye, and locks your arm in his as you twirl around the dance floor. He dances ferociously, like he does most things in life and I love him more every time I talk to him. Continue reading

The Real Truth about Sex and Love – A Groundhog Day Story

Groundhog Day and sex  are not a natural pairing in anyone’s mind, except mine. This story starts with my sex education, which can be summed up in six words: “DON’T EVER LET ANYONE TOUCH YOU!”

Continue reading

It’s Not the House, It’s the Family

My brother just sent me a story from the Wall Street Journal about the Allen family from Pittsburgh, dealing with their first Christmas without their parents. It touched me because it could have been about our family. Their tree from the ’60s looked like a more attractive version of ours, and they had family traditions too.

They made jello salads and barbecue ham sandwiches with homemade buns for Christmas, and celebrated in the family home for years. We are fish cooking/eating maniacs on Christmas Eve and celebrated for almost 60 years in the same home. Continue reading

Who Knew Over Easy Eggs Could Force Me To Mature?

Last week, when I was visiting family in Pennsylvania,  I ate out more times in two days than I did from the time I was 0 to 13. This behavior would have shocked my frugal parents back in the ’50s and ’60s.

From the time I was born until I was thirteen I think I dined out twice. (I did tour the McDonalds in Beaver Falls with the Girl Scouts once, and got a free hamburger, so I guess that counts. OK, three times.) I have a vague recollection of eating French fries at a Woolworths with my Mom once, but that could have just been a dream.

My father didn’t believe in eating out. He’d smoothly drive past whatever restaurant or ice cream stand we were begging to go to, and say, “What restaurant? Oh, did you want to stop? Well too late now. We have better stuff than that at home.” This always left me wondering if he was cheap or we were poorer than I realized. Continue reading

Step-kids and Lasagne Sundays

My kids were gone for a mini-family reunion at their dad’s house for the Fourth of July and I missed them, so I wanted to cook something wonderful when they returned. It was Sunday and my Italian soul longed for lasagne. It was just special enough that my devious plan, to get them (including my daughter’s boyfriend)  to stay for a meal, worked. Now that’s success. (See what my mother taught me? You bribe your kids with food.) Continue reading

Christmas Miracles

You can either live life, or write about it. This year for Christmas, I lived it. The great thing about living is you notice things like little Christmas miracles you might have overlooked. (The bad thing is your blog is late.) Continue reading

My First Christmas Eve Away – How I Survived

I just read an article in the LA Times about an Austrian chef who re-creates Christmas dinners like those in his homeland because he has such great memories. I loved that, instead of sinking into a depression over what he’s missing, he’s re-creating it with braised duck and roasted chestnuts.

My nephew, Marc being blindfolded for the taste-test. We take our blind tasting very seriously.

My nephew, Marc being blindfolded for the pasta sauce taste-test. My brothers often do a blind tasting to poll whose sauce is best – not that we’re competitive or anything.

I remember forcing myself to do that the first year I spent Christmas Eve away from my large, lunatic Italian family.
I didn’t think I’d make it, but it was my second year of being married and I knew it wasn’t fair for us to always go to my family and not his, so we started alternating; one year we flew back, the next, we stayed. Continue reading