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Friday, July 28, 2017

BASIC BLACK OR …


Mangi Tutto!

Italy is noted for many things. Her food is copied and appreciated worldwide, as is her opera, her music sings to the world in color as well as lyrics, making love to the ears, eyes, and other senses. Her architectural prowess knows no bounds as does her marble monuments, historical sights and Italian cars and engineering and can equal anyones on Earth. Her medical and scientific gifts to the world are legendary, she is Italia, she is world class, she is something else, too!

She is the birthplace of the Italian Grandmother, or Nona as she says.
Nona had an off day-everything black was at the cleaners!

Where else can you readily identify an Italian grandmother without her telling you? She wears black! She was almost born wearing black and when she married grandpa, she wore black the day after her first grandchild. Grandpa always slept with his eyes open. Watching his bride dressed like a widow made him nervous.

With the Italian grandma came something else Italy gave to the world, the greatest of cooks, cooks whose recipe file was in Italian and all in her head. Her measurements for cooking were precise, a little of this a pinch of that and some of those. Stray from it and she would disapprove.

Even God had no say when it came to Italian grandmothers. Every Sunday at Our Lady of Loretto, the Italian grandmothers would sit together in the front pews while the sermon was given in Italian. While the lady's chit chatted during the sermon, one of damned fired Hell and brimstone, arms flailing and hands synchronized to the cadence of the speech, a sudden: "SILENZIO!" would resonate throughout the church from an angry Italian priest at the chit-chat Italiano, Grazie Nona!

If Mass was not enough, you had to withstand the glitter of little medals pinned on ample bosoms reflecting on black dresses, medals of Saints Joseph, Anthony, Theresa, Francis and the Madonna, and that was the first square inch. Come to the consecration, out came the handkerchiefs as the tears flowed, followed by another conversational chit-chat and the obligatory: "SILENZIO!"

It was not enough to visit Grandma, you had to withstand her index and middle finger pinch of the cheek, twenty kisses and if she felt the slightest bit of wooziness, she did both cheeks with both hands while hanging on!

Votive candles, holy pictures, and rosaries may have been scattered throughout the apartment, but by far the single most holy rite was eating. There are no "snacks" in Italy, no, just full course meals, where on Sunday it changed to multi-full course meals, with an abundance of food and wine, and the ‘Holy Orders" was "Eat Everything!"

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