March 19, 2017

Stoneham, MA. March, 2010

Is there anything better than Italian home cooking? No. I still remember the first time I went to my friend Nick’s family’s house for dinner when I was in high school. (I had grown up in an Irish-American home, not known for its fine dining.) When Nick’s mother brought the lasagna to the table, I thought I was in heaven. And then to find out that it was only the first course, that there would be more? Lord, take me now! (It was on a follow-up visit that I offered to serve Nick’s mother some pasta, I doled out a ladylike portion, and she replied, “Jesus Christ! Could you spare it?”) A few years ago, when I learned that my friend Paul’s Sicilian mother made a traditional pasta dish with garlic, parsley and breadcrumbs (symbolizing the carpenter-saint’s sawdust) for Saint Joseph’s Day, I hinted heavily that I would love to try it. The following March 19, Paul was selfishly on vacation in Florida (priorities!), but this year, 2010, he was home and I was kindly invited. What a great night! Paul’s family was a treat, his mother a hoot! And the food! In addition to the pasta c'a muddica, there was a resplendent antipasto spread, stuffed artichokes, frittatas, sausages, Italian bread...and for dessert, zeppole di San Giuseppe (big cream-puff-like pastries with three kinds of filling: whipped cream, pastry cream and ricotta with chocolate chips.) I am always ready at a moment's notice to join the festivities. [UPDATE 3/19/17: Guess where I'll be having dinner in a few hours?]

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