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Sunday, October 09, 2016

HOLY MACKEREL AND HOLY COW!


In the old days of my childhood, religion was very important to everyday life, and you might say even healthy! It seems the Catholics were always fasting, if it weren't a Friday, it was some "Holy day of obligation". They even fasted on Sunday mornings so they could go to Holy Communion, causing more noise in the church during the mass because so many stomachs were talking at once!

Friday could be either a good food day or the worst, depending on what was on the menu. Mom made meals that were meatless, and many of them were depression era dishes she learned to cook from my grandmother. Mom's children didn't appreciate the depression or the meals: the beans and macaroni (pasta Fagioli), baked fish in a red sauce or fried and dishes that were inexpensive to make like lentil soup or peas and macaroni, fava beans and macaroni. If you notice I write "Macaroni" not pasta. If you used the word ‘Pasta' you usually said Fagioli after it. In those days, macaroni was macaroni, the Yuppies hadn't taken over yet to name Italian cuisine as the primo diet. HOLY MACKEREL AND HOLY COW! Mackerel for Friday and Cow for the rest of the week.

All these so called depression meals were hated by the kids, they were morgue-like and like the name, depressing. Today I crave those meals, I will go into an Italian restaurant that serves them and pays the owner's child's college education for a small cup of pasta Fagioli.

On occasion, Mom would really step up and make shrimp or scallops, and boy they tasted so good! But her most redeeming dish was sometimes made and sometimes bought from the bar down the corner in Brooklyn…

PIZZA!

Yes, Pizza was the go-to dish when the rebellion was brewing with the young ‘uns! The pizza was heavenly food, made by God for all good little boys and girls. You had pizza on a Friday and people would look at you in awe. I can still smell the pie, with that wonderful crust smelling so good, the oil, dripping down your arm and the sauce was always so hot that it burned the roof of your mouth! Boy, that was great! When Dad bought the pizza at the corner bar, the smell of the pizza cooking and the beer made me very hungry. However, I tried to hide my face since the bar was a target for my friends and me to whoop it up with our cap guns. Situated on the corner, the bar had three entrances, and we would run into the bar on the corner side and shoot at every drunk in the place, where they would yell: "GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE YOU LITTLE BASTARDS!"

Tonight is Friday night, we will have pizza, not because I want it, but because my wonderful wife loves it, she went to Catholic school all her life.

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