Get a bunch of crazy Sicilians in a room and what do you get? A crazy Sicilian feast, lots of people who are talking in their "non-quiet" voices because thats just not in the DNA of Sicilians and even get a food fight!
Lets get down to business. The menu. As you all know a Sicilian party is not just about food, its about lots and lots of food. So much food you walk around full and confused because dishes keep coming out and you are wondering, can I really fit another piece of sausage in me. And the answer is always, "uh yes."
Aunt Mary made her famous Baked Ziti, which was as usual outstanding. I arrived a little late and missed the photo op. That also goes for the Eggplant Parmesan. And I made caponata that disappeared moments after I opened the lid.
You can't visit Uncle Sal Asaro without having lots of seafood options. He made a delicious Tilapia that he proudly caught somewhere off Long Island. How local is that? We also had stuffed clams and raw clams. Both were outstanding.
What's a Sicilian Festa without spiral sausage! I just love grilled sausage. Cousin James, who was manning the grill also made really good barbecued chicken that went nicely with the cilantro chutney that I brought.
Cousin Pino made his infamous sangria which he always drinks the majority then is eve more entertaining than usual. For dessert I brought the Plumside Down Cake and there was a slew of Sicilian pastries and cookies.
On to more entertaining things. Uncle Sal is borderline insane about his vegetable garden. He sets the pitchfork fork-side in hopes that the hungry deer who jump over his fence to eat his corn impale themselves on it. How lovely.
Nonna and her sister Aunt Mary were making sure they got first dibs on all of his crops. The vegetable of choice: cucuzza of course. If you don't know what a cucuzza is, its a gigantic green squash that grows as long as a baseball bat. Nonna claimed hers immediately and when Francesca politely asked if she could help Nonna out of the garden, afterall the old woman had a cane in one hand and fifty pounds of vegetables in the other hand, Nonna said, "Ta matso (spelling? Rocco?)" This means literally, "I will kill you." Now you know where I get my passion for food. My 90 year old Sicilian grandmother is ready to murder over some cucuzza. It is delicious I must say.
Nonna does not play. Here she is emphatically explaining to me how to prepare my squash.
This is Francesca rubbing it in everyone's face that she got the longest cucuzza.
I was noticing a trend as to who got vegetables from Uncle Sal. Like a respectable man, he made sure the old ladies got their share. Maybe he was just scared they would kill him. But then I realized Uncle Sal was doling out phalic vegetables, all type of squashes, to all the beautiful young ladies who were not related to him by blood. When I asked for some cucuzza, he practically laughed in my face. I had to literally beg for some beets and a measly cucumber.
The insanity doesn't end there. Poor Carrie innocently set her vegetables down while we went and enjoyed the sunset on the dock. Much to her surprise, when we returned, her vegetables had been lifted. Someone stole her vegetables! She really should have known better than to leave her vegetables in plain sight at a crazy Sicilian party, though.
I set up a sweepstakes to keep things interesting. The prize: a Rocco middle finger mug. My puritan mother was aghast. How rude it would be to ask relatives for money, even if I would be donating it all to an animal shelter.
I saw my two little cousins shaking everyone down for cash, selling a tootsie pop for a dollar, and I am sure they were pocketing it. I would have my sweepstakes. I made $12 which will be donated to Bobbi and the Strays and cousin James was the lucky winner.