I’ve been on a real Italian kick lately. Because Beau is part Italian. Which makes my kids even parter Italian. So it’s important to me to get to know their people.
A few weeks ago a group of us decided to go to Italian Fest. Which is the absolute dumbest place to go when you’re trying to not eat carbs. But then I remembered Italian people like wine. So I went.
All I can say for sure is that a good time was had by all. Being Italian for the day was fun. But I needed to know more.
So the other night I ended up getting a cooking lesson from some of the best. Beau’s mom, her sisters, and her mom. Nana hails from Calabria, Italy. So she knows a lot about balls. Meatballs. And hers are amazing.
So the MIL (Adeline) starts by showing me how to boil water. I can actually hear the voice(s) in her head screaming, “I Knew This Moron Couldn’t Even Boil Water. I Just Knew It!”.
As it turns out, there are many different ways to do this. An argument quickly ensued on whether you put salt in the water and let it boil or if you put the salt in when it’s already boiling. I’m still not sure what the right answer is. Another one of life’s Italian mysteries.
But one thing I know for sure is, first and foremost there’s the salt. You don’t use the regular salt shaker to salt the water. I mean, duh.
They almost laughed me right out of the kitchen for that faux pas. Apparently, you need to actually go to Morton and shovel the salt straight from him. In obscene quantities. I don’t know.
I learned a lot. I laughed a lot. I ate a lot.
So then I was in charge of making the salad. I was relieved. I could handle that.
There was only one problem. There was no lettuce. I don’t know much about much, but I do know you need damn lettuce to have a damn salad.
Not these people. It’s as if they’re making this up as they go along. Pure insanity. No lettuce. In a salad. Holy cannoli. Mind blown.
Okay then, I’ll just slice this tomato to start the “salad”. No! Carol needs to see the tomato before you cut it.
Um, what in the actual F is going on? Carol needs to see this tomato before I cut it? Is this for real or are these people totally playing with me?
Gigi was not playing. Nana said Carol has to see the tomato before you cut it. Show Carol the damn tomato.
Turns out, Cousin Josephine brought the tomato to Nana just that morning for this very salad.
Cousin Josephine is now on my list.
So you mean to tell me… Cousin Josephine picked this freaking tomato and brought it all the way to Nana’s to have for this very salad? Does she not know how to grow lettuce?
To my knowledge Cousin Josephine lives in this country. In this neighborhood. But they’re all acting like it’s this amazing imported gem. For all to behold.
So now I’m picturing us all standing at Ellis Island waiting for Cousin Josephine’s boat to dock so we can see what delicacy she’s brought us back from the old country. We all form a semi-circle as Cousin Josephine disembarks. I can actually feel myself getting excited.
Cousin Josephine comes closer and the anticipation is just too overwhelming. What could she possibly have under that giant cloak she was wearing? I can actually feel my head spinning with anticipation.
Finally Cousin Josephine makes her way to us. As the lights from the heavens shine down upon her. And she takes out what she has brought from such a foreign exotic place.
And it’s a freaking tomato. From her freaking garden. That I gotta make sure Carol sees before I slice into it.
But now Carol is on the phone. So I can’t slice the damn tomato. Because Carol still needs to see it. How am I ever gonna make this damn lettuceless salad?
Finally Carol is off the phone. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. Aunt Carol, come here, look at the tomato that came all the way to us from Cousin Josephine’s garden. And we all sit on pins and needles as we wait for her response.
Why the heck are you showing me a tomato?
And then she has the nerve to look at me like I’m the crazy one.