Saturday, May 16, 2009


(photo: ©Jennifer Galatioto)

Above: Country House With New Screened in Porch

This is an essay I entered into a contest to win a trip for my entire family to go on vacation to a luxury camping resort in Montana. I don't think I won, because I've never yet been to Montana, but I figured I'd  share. The topic was Memorable Family Get Togethers. 

An Italian American family get together is about food, food and more food. About thirty of us were visiting my parent’s country house. It was a special occasion because our cousin Leonardo was visiting from Italy and a gigantic feast was in order. It was a smorgasbord of delicious dishes, a hybrid of American barbeque like hot dogs, hamburgers and local corn, combined with Italian delights like eggplant, mozzarella and of course the pasta, which my father Rocco was in charge of. A meal in our family does not begin until the pasta is boiled perfectly al dente. The rest of the food was waiting, warm under aluminum foil, while my family was sitting, mouths watering at the table on the deck. I could see my father in the kitchen straining the pasta. He finally emerged. This would be a truly unforgettable meal. As the gigantic platter of pasta made contact with the table, the four feet high deck gave out from under the weight of us all. Everyone slid off the deck, followed by mounds of uneaten food. In a moment of crisis in an Italian American family, food comes before women and children. It was a hysterical effort on everyone’s part to grab flying sausages and tubs of mashed potatoes. Diving across the table to save a tray of my grandmother’s veal cutlets was worth the risk of breaking a limb. We were all so concerned with rescuing the food that it wasn’t until the madness was over that we realized poor Leonardo, our Italian guest, was pinned beneath the table covered in pasta and tomato sauce. It was the most memorable meal we never ate. 

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