Tuesday, September 08, 2015


Being Italian American, we can lay claim to the best noses in the world. There is a tendency for Italians to have long olfactory units, but that is because God deemed us the cooks of the world. As cooks we need to be able to smell when something is cooking correctly.

Growing up in Brooklyn, coming home from church in an Italian neighborhood, you could smell the gravy cooking from house to house, the sauce with it’s little Italian basil floating freely, gave you the sense of hunger and anticipation, of glorious pasta and meatballs, bragiole and sausage, a nice salad all waiting for you. Dad had his wine chilled in ‘the frig’ with a few slices of orange, and mom with nuts and cakes for dessert. Like was good. My sister and I would fight for the oranges, which dad doles out fairly to both of us.

Smelling is a big part of Italian life, you went to grandmas and she was out in her garden picking the green gold, the basil for her gravy, grandpa would smell his homemade wine and decide if it was ready for vinegar.

The biggest smells that ended the year on a high note were the smell of the Italian feast of Christmas Eve, the seven fish, starting with the beautifully prepared lobster gravy and spaghetti. As you entered the house, the aroma took you over, your mouth watering, the pots steaming on the stove, and Mom, my mom looking so homey in her floral apron and wooden spoon, her hands smelling of the ingredients of love, like a maestro about to present a culinary symphony!


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