Tuesday, July 12, 2016


If you lived in an Italian/American household, there were certain things that could not be changed or reinvented to your liking. Be it food, prayer or just everyday living, some things never changed.

If you are a man, and you sit at the table, you better have a shirt on. This rule was the first rule you learn since it is the first thing you remember about life in the household. Why? Because food was involved. You showed respect to Mamma, under the eye of Papa.

Pizza was the bread of life for Italian/Americans, and to this day it still is. Originating in the late 18th century, the poor of Naples added tomato to their yeast-based flat bread, and so the pizza began. Until about 1830’s, pizza was sold from stands and out of pizza bakeries, pizzerias keep this old tradition to this day in America too. Antica Pizzeria Port'Alba in Naples is widely regarded as the city's first pizzeria. Today in America, as the tradition was carried over to NYC, NY I believe, the tomato and cheese combination is sacred. Pepperoni and sausage was added later on when it gained popularity by Americans, but not in Italy. Today it is bastardized with all kinds of crap, that the Italians in Italy (Neapolitans) consider a No-No to put anything other than tomato and cheese on it! My opinion is that they should find the SOB who put pineapple on it, and hang him from the nearest tree or street light. Never, ever buy a commercial brand pizza, it is considered cardboard and crap.

Speaking of the bread of life, when you sat down to eat, bread was present on the table. There were no oils, vinegar or butter to add to the bread, it was a supplement and should be enjoyed plain with your meal. Grandma would toss a loaf on the table and you broke it with your hands!

When Grandma was the master cook of the family, and later Mom, pasta was presented first. Then she put out the meat: meatballs, sausage, and Involtini or braciola. You NEVER ate the meat with the pasta, it was just a bad thing to do if you were Italian. Then you finished off the meal with a salad, which NEVER came first.

If you ever go into an Italian restaurant in America, never expect to eat a full course meal with wine that includes: an appetizer, a pasta dish, a meat dish, a salad and dessert with an after dinner drink in the allotted time the restaurants prefer. Better you eat at home, at your leisure, so you can fully emote, with both hands and voice, both in English and Italian!

In the old days, if you were dating a signorina from Roma or Brooklyn, make sure you introduce yourself to Papa. Papa usually had un grande bastone to equalize you attitude with his about what should happen on the date with his daughter.

All potential new members need to clear customs or grandma. Are you marrying someone? Get that important interview asap. This is important to show respect and honor your grandparents. It is also a good idea to get them on your side before you bring home to Mamma and Papa your new love interest, in case they don't like him or her.

Finally, one of the biggest No-No’s is putting cheese on fish! GOOD GOD! Do that in front of an old timer and he would get up and walk away from the table, never to look or speak to you again! You would be dead to him or her.



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