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Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: 

“What you never heard your Italian Grandparents say”/“Quello che non mai ha sentito i Suoi Nonni Italiani dice”

 

Ciao Amici,

I thought it would be fun to have a list


 1) I’m going to parli (talk) without my hands and arms in motion

 2) One bottle of vino (wine) is enough on the table

 3) Wake me up at mezzogiorno (noon)

 4)  Please don’t bring  your amici (friends) over for dinner

 5) Passaggio (pass) the ketchup please

 6) Lets have rice on Domenica (Sunday)

 7) Metta (put) the  the noodles in the pot

 8) I don’t like to canti (sing)

 9) You can have only uno (one) meatball

10) Let’s not have pane (bread) today

11) It is alright that you can’t come and mangi (eat) on Sunday

12) Quale è (what is) a Braciole ?

13) Let us eat in front of the Televisione ( television)  today

14) I am not affamato (hungry)?

15) I will have a decaffeinato (decaffeinated) Espresso

16) Let us not have a giardino (garden) this year

17) Lo compri (buy it) in the smaller can and only one

18) Please don’t bother me I am to busy to parli ( talk) to you

19) Let us have the insalata (salad) before dinner

20) Please no abbraccia e baci (hugs and kisses) in public .

 

Please let us know “What your Italian Grandparents did not say”


Assente ma non dimentica

Absent but not forgotten

 

Saluti,

Joe

 

Growing up in the Butcher Shop: St Patrick’s Day

Ciao Amici, 

          Corned Beef has become the traditional dish to be enjoyed on St. Patrick’s Day which is celebrated on March 17th. You may assume  that is what they eat in Ireland on this Feast day, however the truth is, eating Corned Beef on St. Patty’s Day is an Irish- American tradition. Much like Spaghetti & Meatballs is the quintessential Italian -American food; Corned Beef and Cabbage is to the Irish –Americans. Likewise you can’t find Spaghetti & Meatballs in Italy and you won’t find Corned Beef and Cabbage in Ireland unless the place caters to American tourist.

          How did Corned Beef and Cabbage become such a main dish for Irish - Americans? The belief is that the  Irish immigrants ended up in poorer areas of  larger cities like New York City often in similar areas with working class Jews. They  could not find or afford the bacon that they were used to so they switched to corned beef briskets which were readily available at Kosher delis. It’s Jewish, but the Irish took out all the seasoning .

          Originally Corned Beef and Cabbage was a traditional dish served for Easter Dinner in rural Ireland. The word corned has nothing to do with the vegetable but is a process by which meat is preserved in brine or with salt. This procedure was done during the winter to preserve the beef so it could then be eaten after the long meatless Lenten Season. Since the dawn of refrigeration, the trend in Ireland is to eat fresh meat and the corned beef  all but dissapeared from Ireland.

          Grandmom was always eager to celebrate and do so with eating out of the ordinary dishes for special occasions. So my family has always enjoyed  Corned Beef & Cabbage which was always followed by the Irish coffee. As it was back in the day, if we knew someone  who had never had corned beef and cabbage, Grandmom was quick to invite them to help celebrate. I continue to make the Corned Beef & Cabbage for my business and also to enjoy at home.

Se beve dimenticare per favore paga in anticipo.

If you drink to forget please pay in advance.

Sign at The Hiberian Bar, Cork City Ireland

Con Cordiali Saluti,

Joe 




Growing up in the Butcher: “Carne Vale” / "Farewell to Meat"

Ciao Amici ,

          In the darkness, cold blustery cold of winter each year comes a Tuesday. The Tuesday before Ash Wednesday [first day of lent]. This day has many names besides Carnevale, it’s also called Shrove Tuesday and "Fat Tuesday" - also known in French as Mardi Gras, or in Italian as Martedi Grasso. Because of its ties to the liturgical calendar like Easter the actual date varies year to year, this year it is on Tuesday march 5th. I remember as a youngster thinking to myself, it is Tuesday, why does mom have the pasta board out? And why is Grandpop and Grandmom frying in lard the meatballs, sausage, beef braciole, chunks of beef, veal, pork ribs and lamb shanks  in the huge gravy pot of tomatoes; it was not Sunday! Suddenly it became clear, it’s Carnivale and it was celebrated with enthusiasm around Roseto.  Made with traditional pride was the chick a dade [cavatelli] and the cavazoon; one as a savory appetizer made with ricotta, pecorino, provolone and dry sausage and the other for dessert made with sweetened ricotta. Carnivale is the final hurrah as winter headed towards spring, and the long Lenten season of fasting and abstinence begins. Back in the day all Catholics did not eat meat on all Fridays not just during lent. Before that the abstinence from all animal products including fish, eggs, fowl and milk sourced from animals [e.g. goats and cows as opposed to the milk of soy beans and coconuts] was commonly practiced, so that, where this is observed, only vegetarian [vegan] meals are consumed for the entire time of Lent, 45 days in the Byzantine Rite. In the Western Catholic Church, the obligation to fast no longer applies to all weekdays of Lent [40 days], but only to Ash Wednesday, Good Friday and all Fridays during lent.

Buon Martedì Grasso! O grandi disossate martedì per sensibili amici.

Happy Fat Tuesday! Or Big Boned Tuesday for my sensitive friends.

Con cordiali saluti, 

Joe


Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Italian Carnevale

Ciao Amici,    

          A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo vale –anything goes at carnevale. This year the celebration of Carnivale is on Tuesday February 13th.  In Italy the Carnivale is celebrated with parades, a masquerade ball, entertainment, music and parties. Growing up in the butcher shop we celebrated with a dinner of antipasto, some of the savory “cavazoon” made with dry sausage, provolone and ricotta. Next we would  have homemade Chic a dade [cavatelli], gravy meat, roasted chicken and potatoes and a salad. We end the meal with espresso coffee and the sweet ricotta cavazoons. This is considered the final party before Easter which is forty days away.

          Another name for this day is Matedi Grasso [Fat Tuesday]. People tend to partake in excess because they will abstain during lent. Sweets or other delicacies are put on hold for seven weeks after Tuesday. When I was growing up we did not eat meat on any Friday but now Catholics only abstain during lent. So why do Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent? People offer several reasons for why the church embraces this discipline, a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Some say it was because the church was trying to support the fishing industry when times were tough. The church was trying to keep fishermen 'afloat'. There is some historical evidence of that, dating all the way back to the second century. Grandpop would say the Pope’s brother was a fisherman. Fish is an inexpensive, humble food that you had to catch yourself. Some say that not eating meat helped folks to focus on the humility of Christ, who lived a simple man's life.

          There are literally dozens of other examples for this evolution over the years and the Church's maintenance of it. They are good to know, but they didn't help me a lot when I was young child. My Mom doesn’t eat fish so my brothers and I had to acquire a taste for fish.  As a small child if your Mom did not like a certain food you did not either and when fish was made, Mom would make a face as if something was wrong. So we had the pasta agio olio, or with beans or ceci beans, different meat less pizza like with potatoes or plain with just tomatoes. Eggs where also used as in peas and eggs,  mozzarella in carrozza or purgatory [poached in tomato sauce].

"Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God's sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God."

~Thomas a Kempis

Con cordiali saluti,

Joe 


Growing up in the Butcher Shop: 
The fable of the spaghetti server / 
La favola del sistema di servizio del spagetti

Ciao Amici,  

          Once upon a time a man from our hometown moved south to start his business. There was not much call for his type of business so he had to move to a bigger city.  As he moved into his new home his new neighbor watched as he and his family moved in. It was Sunday as they sat down for there Italian Dinner of macaroni  .There was a knock on the door he introduced himself , Hi I am your neighbor my name is John my wife baked you a pie. What is the occasion to have such a meal it is not a holiday. We do this every Sunday not just special occasions. Join us said Cambi. John sat  had the antipasto , Macaroni ,and the meat from the gravy ( meatballs. Baccoili , sausage .pork ribs  and so on),bread and salad.  John had never had a Sunday dinner .John thanked Cambi. The next Sunday John showed up again and invited himself and then the following week again .Cambi was getting a bit annoyed .Next Week Cambi announced don’t throw the spaghetti until he gets here. As John came in he could see Cambi in his muscle man shirt. He would stir the Spaghetti with the spaghetti tong  then pretend to scratch his back with the it  . As John watched, problem solved . John left and they never had to worry about having John or John’s family as  guests on there Sunday dinner again.

Visita sempre dà piacere- se non l'arrivo, la partenza. 

Visits always give pleasure - if not the arrival, the departure.  ~Portuguese Proverb

Con cordiali saluti

Joe


Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Giorno dei Valentini santo/ St.Valentines

Ciao Amici,
          The popular festival of love and romance, Valentines Day, which traces its origins to ancient Rome and was not created by card companies. In early Rome people observed a holiday on February 14th to honor Juno –the Queen Goddesses of women & marriage.
Another folklore on the 15 th, is ”The Feast of Lupercalia”, which celebrates the Roman God of Agriculture. An interesting custom was to bring together young boys and girls who would otherwise not be associated with each other. On the eve of the festival names of the young Roman girls were written on a slip of paper and placed in a jar. Each young man drew out a girls name from the jar and they were paired together for the duration of the festival. Quite often the couple would fall in love with each other and later marry. The tradition lasted a long time until people began to feel it was un-Christian and mates were then chosen by sight , not luck.
During the reign of Emperor Claudius II who found it difficult to get soldiers because they did not want to leave their wives and family decided to cancel all marriages in Rome. A daring Priest, Valentinus, secrectly married couples, however when this was discovered he was sent to prison. Another legend has it that Valentinus fell in love with the jailor’s daughter who came to visit him. Before he was beaten to death on February 14 th, he wrote a farewell note to his sweetheart and signed it “From your Valentine.” He was later ordained a saint, St. Valentine.
          The popularity of this day, February 14 th, stems from the combined effects of all these legends, viewpoints and to be certain the wish to glorify the unparelled feeling of Amore [Love.] I love you Joelene, Happy Valentine’s Day!

Tutto io realmente bisogno è amore, ma un piccolo cioccolato ora ed allora non fa male a!
All I really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt!

Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Luogo di Origine / Place of Origin

Ciao Amici,

          The question of where an item came from was of upmost importance while growing up in the butcher shop. Grandpop knew which farms produced quality animals to purchase for butchering. There were farms at the time that made ricotta and mozzarella.   Grandpop and Grandmom would go to the farms to meet the farmers to see first hand if the cheeses were made in a clean environment and if all the criteria were met, they would buy it and use it in their business. They only sold items that they would use and only used those items they’d sell in their shop. Pecorino Romano Cheese was one of the groceries they sold. Made from sheep’s milk, this cheese is a hard and salty cheese and is used mostly for grating. (The Italian word Pecora, from which the name derives, means sheep).  The Pecorino Romano trademark (Marchio di Fabbrica) is a sheep’s head stamped with the letters Baa Baa right on the cheese. When seeing this stamp, you know exactly what you are getting.

          Another truly one of a kind item they sold is the Prosciutto di Parma. The earliest examples of Prosciutto (from the Italian “prosciugare, “(to dry out) dates back 2,000 years to when the Romans first salted hams to cure. In Parma Italy, they are hung to dry in special rooms with tall windows. There they are bathed in sea breezes that come in from the Ligurian Sea and over the Apennine Mountains. This sweet air (“aria dolce”) is just one element that cannot be reproduced anywhere else in the world. Under the guidance of a 400 hundred day period, the hams are constantly monitored for quality. Only those that meet these high standards are established by the Consorzio, Italian and the United States authorities. Then they are stamped with The Ducal Crown and proclaimed Prosciutto di Parma.  Over the years, the process has been refined and perfected so that the lovely, rose-colored Parma Ham is less salty and more delicately flavored than the prosciutto from years ago.  

          Grandmom would have to bone out the prosciutto. This took skill, patience, and determination, none of which was a problem for Teodora. Then it was ready to be sliced thin and laid out, not stacked together so the customer would have no problem sorting the slices. Served to start the meal with melon is a great antipasto or as we had it sliced with another slice and another and another.  Utilizing everything they could, the bone of the ham was used to make minestra which was made with escarole and red beans. Ah! to savor ( a sapore ) with a loaf of real Italian Bread. We are proud to have these products at our store for you.

Ci Vuol Pazienza - You most have patience

Best Regards / Con cordiali saluti

Joe



Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Isolated / Isolato     

Ciao Amici,

          Growing up in the Butcher Shop when I was young I never remember being left alone to feel that I was isolated.  Growing up In Roseto on Garibaldi ave at that time there was always someone to play with. We were with either family or friends. When I visited Roseto Valfortore in the early sixties, at that time there were very few televisions in the town to keep people inside so after a major mid-afternoon break or riposo, stores opened up again for just a few hours, then people would have a light dinner, after this everyone goes out for a Camminare (walk) Up and down the main street must of them Tenersi per mano (Holding Hands). Laughing, joking around stopping to talk with friends asking how their day went, which really meant that they loved each other it was like traveling therapy.
          The word isolated is defined as being in a place or situation separate from others.  These days some of us choose to isolate ourselves by spending long hours on our computers or in our rooms with our smartphones. But some are isolated not by choice, such as military spouses during deployments, the divorced, the sick, the poor or the elderly, who experience loneliness at its deepest level. Whatever the situation, a devastating effect of being isolated is the feeling of being unloved. Look to see those around us who are lonely, feeling unloved, or fighting the battle of depression, and equip them with the message that they are loved

Noi non potemo avere perfetta vita senza amici – We cannot have a perfect life without friends.
-Dante

Grazie,

Joe


Growing up in the Butcher Shop:     Risata / Laughter

Ciao Amici,

     Growing Up in the butcher shop no matter the different situation that arrived I always remember grandmom and grandpop having a sense of humor. Laughter was the best medicine. With all the stress, pain, and conflict in running a family food business Laughter was a powerful antidote. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightened there burden, inspired hope, connected them to others, and kept them grounded, focused, and alert. It also helped them release anger and forgive sooner. With so much power to heal and renew, their ability to laugh easily and frequently was a tremendous resource for surmounting problems, enhancing their relationships, and supported both physical and emotional health. Best of all, this priceless medicine is fun, free, and easy to use. I Remember grandmom always with a smile which is the beginning of laughter, and like laughter, it’s contagious. When customers would come to the butcher shop  Instead of looking down grand mom looked up and smiled at customers and I would notice the effect on others. Along with the smile, grandmom was an attentive listener and only gave advice when asked. At the butcher shop, customers would never hear about any problems she had it was like the quote from Lou Holtz “ Never tell your problems to anyone...20% don't care and the other 80% are glad you have them.”

 

Un cuore allegro è una buona medicina, ma uno spirito schiacciato asciuga le ossa

(A  cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.)

 Solomon (Proverbs 17:22, NIV).

 

Grazie,

Joe


Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Soup is on  /La zuppa è accesa                                                                

 

Ciao Amici,

                As the January winds and there is that chill in the air thoughts of Grandmom’s soups come to mind.   Laying in my bed early in morning as the aroma of homemade stock would rise to the second floor what a great way to be awakened. As a small child, I was fascinated watching Grandmom prepare her soup. One of the soups I remember was her Beef Bollito Misto. The beef would vary but for the must part she would take bone-in short ribs , boneless beef chuck and beef shank. These tough collagen-rich cuts of beef grow succulent and tender with long, slow simmering. She would add carrots, onions and celery, After letting it the set, she would pull the meat apart and add the vegetables and beef broth all that was needed was a hunk of Matt Ledonne Italian Bread. Another favorite she made was the Minestra or Greens and beans the stock was chicken based with an addition of a prosciutto bone that simmered for many hours.S he would use a mixture of greens like dandelion, escarole, kale and spinach. After sautéing the Sorfrito of chopped celery, carrots & onions, she would add the greens with red & white kidney beans. Last but certainly not least We can never forget her famous Chicken soup ,she would simmer a whole capon which are larger than a chicken, a bit smaller than a turkey, but more flavorful than either, capons are full breasted with tender, juicy, flavorful meat that is well suited to roasting or poaching, as it simmered … she would put the big wooden board on the table and grab the long wooden rolling pin and out came the flour and eggs making a well with the eggs were dropped in the well and in no time she had the pasta dough, then she let it rest. As a young child I  was in awe of watching her make fresh pasta  No machines just a board a rolling pin and a very sharp knife. As she would start  with a ball about 10inch in diameter  ,she roll it with the rolling pin flipping it back a worth  ,worth and back  with her powerful arms in no time the pasta covered the whole board, after this she would fold them grab her sharp knife and cut the pasta to make The tagliatelle, derived from the Italian word tagliare – meaning “to cut” . The capon meat was ready she called us to the table “ Tutti al tavolo da mangiare”(Everyone to the table to eat)  then she cooked the pasta It is better  for people to wait for the macaroni rather than the macaroni wait for the people.
 

Grazie,

Joe


Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Soup is on /La zuppa è accesa                                                                

 

Ciao Amici,

         As the January winds and there is that chill in the air thoughts of Grandmom’s soups come to mind.   Laying in my bed early in the morning as the aroma of homemade stock would rise to the second floor what a great way to be awakened. As a small child, I was fascinated watching Grandmom prepare her soup. One of the soups I remember was her Beef Bollito Misto. The beef would vary but for the most part she would take bone-in short ribs, boneless beef chuck, and beef shank. These tough collagen-rich cuts of beef grow succulent and tender with long, slow simmering. She would add carrots, onions, and celery, After letting in set she Would pull the meat apart and add the vegetables and beef broth all that was needed was a hunk of Matt Ledonne Italian Bread. Another favorite she made was the Minestra or Greens and beans the stock was chicken based with an addition of a prosciutto bone that simmered for many hours. She would use a mixture of greens like dandelion, escarole, kale, and spinach. After sautéing the Sorfrito of chopped celery, carrots & onions, she would add the greens with red & white kidney beans. Last but certainly not least We can never forget her famous Chicken soup ,she would simmer a whole capon which are larger than a chicken, a bit smaller than a turkey, but more flavorful than either, capons are full breasted with tender, juicy, flavorful meat that is well suited to roasting or poaching, as it simmered … she would put the big wooden board on the table and grab the long wooden rolling pin and out came the flour and eggs making a well with the eggs were dropped in the well and in no time she had the pasta dough, then she let it rest. As a young child, I  was in awe of watching her make fresh pasta  No machines just a board, a rolling pin, and a very sharp knife.As she would start  with a ball about 10inch in diameter  ,she roll it with the rolling pin flipping it back a worth  ,worth and back  with her powerful arms in no time the pasta covered the whole board, after this she would fold them grab her sharp knife and cut the pasta to make The tagliatelle, derived from the Italian word tagliare – meaning “to cut” . The capon meat was ready she called us to the table “ Tutti al tavolo da mangiare”(Everyone to the table to eat)  then she cooked the pasta It is better for people to wait for the macaroni rather than the macaroni wait for the people.
 

Grazie,

Joe



Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Epiphany and La Befana in Italy

Ciao Amici,
January 6th ,the Feast of the Epiphany is a national holiday in Italy. Epiphany commemorates the 12th day of Christmas when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts for baby Jesus. The tradition of La Befana is also a significant part of Italian Christmas celebrations which in Italy lasts through Epiphany.

The traditional celebration includes the tale of a witch named La Befana where Legend has it that the night before the wise men arrived at the manger they stopped at her house and asked the old women for directions. They invited her to come along but she said she was to busy cleaning. Later a shepherd asked her and again she refused. Later that night she saw a great light in the sky and decided to join the shepherd and wise men and bring gifts that had belonged to her child who had died. She got lost and never found the manger.

So during the night of Janurary 5th, La Befana arrives on her broomstick and fills the stockings of children. She leaves all the good children toys and candy [“caramelle”] or fruit, while the bad children get “carbone” [coal], onions or garlic. The child's family typically leaves a small glass of vino and a plate with a few morsels of food for the Befana. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves.
Although she has been unsuccessful in her search, she continues to leave gifts for good young children because the Christ Child can be found in all children.
Hope è la cosa ultima mai perduto.
Hope is the last thing ever lost.

Grazie,
Joe


Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Epiphany and La Befana in Italy

Ciao Amici,

     January 6th ,the Feast of the Epiphany is a national holiday in Italy. Epiphany commemorates the 12th day of Christmas when the three Wise Men arrived at the manger bearing gifts for baby Jesus. The tradition of La Befana is also a significant part of  Italian Christmas celebrations which in Italy lasts through Epiphany.

     The traditional celebration includes the tale of a witch named La Befana where Legend has it that the night before the wise men arrived at the manger they stopped at her house and asked the old women for directions. They invited her to come along but she said she was to busy cleaning. Later a shepherd asked her and again she refused. Later that night she saw a great light in the sky and decided to join the shepherd and wise men and bring gifts that had belonged to her child who had died. She got lost and never found the manger.

     So during the night of Janurary 5th, La Befana arrives on her broomstick and fills the stockings of children. She leaves all the good children toys and candy [“caramelle”] or fruit, while the bad children get “carbone” [coal], onions or garlic. The child's family typically leaves a small glass of vino and a plate with a few morsels of food for the Befana. Being a good housekeeper, many say she will sweep the floor before she leaves.

Although she has been unsuccessful in her search, she continues to leave gifts for good young children because the Christ Child can be found in all children. 

Hope è la cosa ultima mai perduto.

Hope is the last thing ever lost.

Grazie,

Joe


Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas /
'Twas la notte prima di Natale


Ciao Amici,

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the house
There was a lot of stirring especially Peppino the mouse
The sausage was hung in the attic with care
In hopes that they would be ready when Christmas was there
The children were around the table not ready for bed
While visions of spaghetti with black olives danced in their head
And Grandmom with her apron and Grandpop with his spoon spinner
Had just settled down to have Christmas Eve Dinner
When out in the dining room there arose such a clatter
The orange and anchovy salad was served that was what the matter was
Away to the kitchen the spaghetti cooked in a flash
And put into bowls in a dash
More rapid then eagles Grandmom’s courses came
And she announced them all by name
Now Zuppa Cippodada! Now smelts! Now roasted eels and potatoes would appear
On calamari! On baccala! When shrimp scampi was served you knew the end was near
With a wink of Grandpop’s eye and twist of his cheek
They had made a meal not for the meek
Grandmom spoke not a word but went straight to her work
And all was cleaned and then to us turned with a jerk
Let us go to Mass to celebrate the birth of Gesù Cristo
We walked up Garibaldi out of sight
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night




Growing Up in the Butcher Shop:    Christmas Eve

                                                             Vigilia di Natale

  Ciao Amici,

       Christmas Eve morning  I would wake-up to the aroma of scarta lette and pizza frit frying. Large pots of oil were set on the stove and as it was heating, the dough was stretched, cut  and dropped in the oil. When they came out of the pot we would drizzle honey over them; so good! Grandmom would tell us a story that on Christmas Eve in a Village in Italy, a  Lady in early  morning was up preparing dough to make bread.  She heard shepherds calling outside, “Come out to see the bright star!” they said.  Thinking she had time while her bread was rising, she went out on the hill to see the star. When she returned the dough had over risen and she cried and said she wished that she never went to see the star. As she was crying, a stranger over heard her and told her that she did the right thing in seeing the star and then told her to fry the dough; the the rest is pizza frit history.

       Large colored lights were hung around the large display window at the butcher shop. The bulbs were larger then and the colors more muted. As I grew older, I’d get so excited when they would let me turn the lights on. The small Pesipio (Nativity Manger)  was placed under the tree but the baby  Jesu ( Jesus)  would not arrive until after midnight mass.  Some years we would use the fig  tree limbs wrapped in cotton matting  as if that year we had snow.

      I remember watching Grandpop open the large wooden crates of Baccala (Salt Cod) with his special tool. It had a hammer, hatchet and crow bar all built into one. As soon as   I saw  the fish I thought to myself, how can any one eat this ? But grandmom showed me why. “Josie, venga qui (come here), get ottenga la vasca e riempimento esso con acqua fredda (get the tub and fill it with cold water).  After two days of changing the water often, the hard salt mass had returned to soft tender fish. It went into the Chip-po-dada (fish stew ) with  leeks and potatoes or in the Oreganato baked with cauliflower, breadcrumbs and potatoes.

      I enjoyed serving Midnight Mass  and on my way home I’d stop to see Shoemaker  Leonard Castellucci’s beautiful nativy display. Back then, more people worshiped God and not celebrities.  This was originly written Christmas 2010

 

Natale non è un tempo nè una stagione, ma un stato di mente. Curare teneramente pace ed avviamento, essere abbondante in misericordia, è ha il vero spirito di Natale. - Calvin Coolidge

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. - Calvin Coolidge

 

Buon Natale

Joe & Joelene

Growing up in the Butcher: Vigilia Di Natale
Christmas Eve

 

Ciao Amici,

     If you have seen the billboard as you Go north on Roseto Ave that reads “ I am me not meat see the individual go vegan”  as brought to you by Peta who advocates against the traditional Christmas Eve Dinner of the Seven Fishes. Talking to customers at the shop some comments, one person said imagine if it was a different ethic group , they have to try to bully the little town of Roseto. People  are more calm now but back in the day My one friend said they would burn down the billboard and boycott the agency that but the billboard up . Another friend said people You would think they'd have bigger fish to fry..more comments such as That billboard should be swimming with the fishes.and

The feast of 7 fishes is much, much older than PETA. Some traditions are worth keeping especially if there's a religious background to them. This is what I remember Growing up in the Butcher Shop about Christmas Eve

 Christmas Eve was one occasion that us butchers enjoyed fish. For the Christmas Eve Feast of the “Seven Fishes”, the large boxes of Baccala were delivered to the butcher shop. Baccala is dried cod and Stoccofish is dried stock fish. If customers used a product on Christmas Eve, P. DeFranco and Son Fresh Meats and Groceries carried it. My Grandparents sold cans of anchovies, crates of oranges, small boxes of Clementines, fresh fennel, all the different types of pasta, Italian oil cured olives, extra virgin olive oil, oil for frying and breadcrumb for breading. Back in the fifties all you had to do was pick up the phone and call 255. Before my time Grandmom told me that they would sell live eels, you couldn’t get them any fresher. They must have been very determined people just to grab them and package them for customers.

     The long ritual of eating seafood dates from the tradition of abstaining from eating meat products on Friday. Grand pop would joke that this was made a law because the Pope’s Brothers [The Apostles], were fisherman.  I never thought of it as the seven fishes, but in actuality; it was. Our menu consisted of Fried Smelts, Chipodada Soup, Orange Salad with Anchovies, Roasted Eels and Potatoes, Baccala Salad, Stuffed Calamari and Shrimp Scampi. We also had thin Spaghetti with Black Olives for family like my mom who hated fish. There are many theories for what “7” strands for. Some say it’s because seven is the most repeated number in the bible and appears over 700 times. Other say the number represents the Seven Sacraments or that seven represents perfection because the number for divinity is three and earth is four and together the numbers represents seven or the real meaning of Christmas, the birth of God on earth Jesus Christ.

 

"Pesce, assaggiare giusto, deve nuotare 3 calcola--in acqua, in burro ed in vino."

 

"Fish, to taste right, must swim 3 times -- in water, in butter and in wine."

Polish Proverb

 

Cordiali saluti,

Joe


Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Getting into the Christmas Spirit                                       
Twelve Days of Christmas (Rosetan VARIATION)

 On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
A bowl full of Pecorino cheese.

 

On the 2nd day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Two garlic cloves, 
and a bowl full of Pecorino cheese

 

On the 3rd day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
three Tomato Pies,
two garlic cloves, 
and a bowl full of Pecorino cheese.

 

On the 4th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Four meatballs,
three  Tomato  Pies,
Two garlic cloves, 
and a bowl full of Pecorino cheese.

 

On the 5th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Five pasta fazool !!!!
Four meatballs,
three Tomato Pies,
Two garlic cloves, 
and a bowl full of Pecorino cheese.

 

On the 6th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,

Six Salsiccia secca
 Five pasta fazool !!!!
Four meatballs,
three Tomato Pies,
Two garlic cloves, 
and a bowl full of Pecorino cheese.

 

On the 7th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Seven  cannolis".

Six Salsiccia secca
Five pasta fazool !!!!
Four meatballs,
three Tomato  Pies,
Two garlic cloves, 
and a bowl full of Pecorino cheese.

 
On the 8th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,

Eight Uncle Tonies,

Seven cannolis

Six Salsiccia secca,
Five pasta fazool !!!!
Four meatballs,
three Tomato Pies,
Two garlic cloves, 
and a bowl full of Pecorino cheese.

 

On the 9th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,

Nine Cousin Vinnies,
Eight Uncle Tonies,
Seven cannolis,
Six Salsiccia secca,
Five pasta fazool !!!!
Four meatballs,
Three Pizza Pies,
Two garlic cloves, 
and a bowl full of Pecorino cheese.

 

On the 10th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,

Ten glasses of vinos,
Nine Cousin Vinnies

Eight Uncle Tonies,
Seven  cannolis.,
Six Salsiccia secca,
Five pasta fazool !!!!
Four meatballs,
three Tomato Pizza Pies,
Two garlic cloves, 
and a bowl full of Pecorino cheese.

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,
Eleven Mama Mias!
Ten glasses of vinos,
Nine Cousin Vinnies


Eight Uncle Tonies,
Seven canellonis,
Six Six Salsiccia secca
Five pasta fazool !!!!
Four meatballs,
three Tomato Pies,
Two garlic cloves, 
and s bowl full of Pecorino cheese.

 

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me,

Twelve dishes of Cavatelli & Broccoli rabe

Eleven Mama Mias!
Ten glasses of vinos,
Nine Cousin Ginos,
Eight Uncle Tonies,
Seven cannolis.,
Six Salsiccia secca,
Five pasta fazool !!!!
Four meatballs,
three Tomato  Pies,
Two garlic cloves, 
and a bowl full of Pecorino cheese.

 

Con cordiali saluti,

Joe


Growing Up in the Butcher Shop:  Complimenti al Cuoco / Compliment the Cook 

 

Ciao Amici,     

 

 Growing up in the butcher shop I would watch Grandmom on a Sunday brown the meat with onions and garlic; the meatballs, sausage, baciole, spare ribs,veal & lamb shanks and so on. When she finished with browning the meat, she’d always say, “Quando cucini Josie, non dimenticare il mio ingrediente segreto condisci sempre quello che stai cucinando con grande amore.” [“When you cook Josie, do not forget my secret ingredient always season what you're cooking with great love.”]  Grandmom always cooked with great dedication and love! She would serve guests first, family second and finally she would serve herself. I recall as she sat at the table she would watch as every one picked up their fork. She would then sit back and watch for their reaction. It was usually quiet when the food was served; we were absorbed in the flavor and texture of the food. When it is quiet at the table, every one is with it. Sometimes guests would talk a little too much, it only took a stare from Grandpop for them to “stat da sheet” [be quiet.]

She had taken care to prepare a great meal and all she needed to get that beautiful smile was to hear a sincere compliment and someone would say, “Questo cibo è fantastico” [“This food is great.”] Or grand pop would say, “Neppure il re d'Italia ha cibo così buono” [“Not even the King of Italy has food this good.”] Guest would offer to help but no way that would happen. Then all that hard work was worth it and at the end of the meal Mom and Grandmom would take care of the responsibilities and guests were forbidden to help. So If you are lucky enough to have an Italian Grandmom or Mom Still living don’t forget to compliment them. Or tell them what Grandpop would Say, “Not even the king of Italy has food this good!”
 

                                                

 Con cordiali saluti,

Joe




Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Thanksgiving Prayer

Ciao Amici,     

This Song by Johnny Cash sum up my feelings about my wife.

It is called a Thanksgiving Prayer and is also known as "I'm Thanking the Lord He Made You")

We've come to the time in the season
When family and friends gather near
To offer a prayer of Thanksgiving
For blessings we've known through the year
To join hands and thank the creator
And now when Thanksgiving is due
This year when I count my blessings
I'm thanking the Lord He made you
This year when I count my blessings
I'm thanking the Lord He made you

I'm grateful for the laughter of children
The sun and the wind and the rain
The color of blue in your sweet eyes
The sight of a high "ballin" train
The moon rise over a prairie
Old love that you've made new
This year when I count my blessings
I'm thanking the Lord He made you
This year when I count my blessings
I'm thanking the Lord He made you

And when the time comes to be going
It won't be in sorrow and tear
I'll kiss you goodbye and I'll go on my way
Grateful for all of the years
I thank for all that you gave me
For teaching me what love can do
Thanksgiving day for the rest of my life
I'm thanking the Lord He made you
Thanksgiving day for the rest of my life
I'm thanking the Lord He made you 


Grazie /Thank you,

Best Regards / Con cordiali saluti

Joe and Joelene



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop:  Thanksgiving /  Ringraziamento

Ciao Amici,     

      This article was first published November 11 2009. Il tempo vola [time flies].

     My Thanksgiving Day memories that I treasured growing up in the butcher shop was waking up early to the smell of turkey cooking through out the house.

      Thanksgiving always takes me back to my childhood and the comfort of that meal. My Grandparents embraced the holiday as if it was their own. They were thankful to be Italian Americans living in the land of the free and home of the brave.  I remember as a youngster going up to the farm; where my shop is now, and Grandpop, my Dad and I would tap the wine and bottle it. Grandpop would have the radio on and we would listen to the Bangor & Pen Argyl football game. Meanwhile at home; Grandmom, Mom and Aunt Theresa would be preparing the Thanksgiving Dinner. It was the traditional dinner with the candied yams, mashed potatoes, corn, peas, cranberry sauce, soft rolls and the turkey. Sometime they would also make a capon in case someone did not like turkey. Watching Grandpop carve the turkey was amazing. The knives were sharp as a razor and the turkey was cut with the precision only an experienced butcher could do.  After my Grandfather passed away my Dad continued the tradition and then it was passed on to me. I’ve heard that some families make antipasto, lasagna and meatballs. However, my family served only the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner.

     In the older days, Thanksgiving was also a time when everyone in Roseto would butcher their pigs. With the cold weather coming along, the meat could be salted and hung to make the capicola, prosciutto, guanciale and pancetta. The pork meat was also ground to make the sausage. Some was left to dry and some was cooked and canned; then turned upside down so the lard would help seal the sausage. This also had another use because once the can was opened the lard was used to fry the peppers & onions.

      At the end of the meal the homemade pies were put out for all to enjoy. There was apple, cherry, pumpkin, mince, blueberry and ricotta. All made with the pie crust that contained lard. Thanksgiving is a special time to give thanks for all we have.  Thank you to all who read my articles and tell me how much you are enjoying them. Also I am thankful to have grown up with family and friends at a time when people truly cared about each other. From our home, to your home, have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Tuttoilmondoe’paese                    Everything is the same the world over

 Le luci del sole dappertutto         The sun shines everywhere

 Grazie,

Joe and Joelene

 


Growing Up in the Butcher Shop:  Pickled Green Tomatoes / Pomodori sottaceti Verdi

Ciao Amici,

     When the garden came to a close I got great pleasure from helping my Grandmother pulito sul giardino (clean up the garden.) One plant still growing were the tomatoes. Grandmom pulled out a few vines before the frost with the green tomatoes still on them and we’d hang them in the basement to ripen. It was amazing to see those tomatoes ripen without being in the ground. With some of those green tomatoes we would just slice and then dip them in corn meal and fry some right away, but that was just to pass the vooley (desire). The last thing we did with the green tomatoes was we pickled them so that we could enjoy them in the winter as a side dish to go along with a sandwitch. I  helped Grandmom wash and slice the tomatoes  and then salt them over night. Sale (salt) is a mineral use to flavor a dish, but before refrigeration it, was also used to help preserve food.

     The next day we rinsed the tomatoes and Grandmom added celery, onion, garlic, vinegar peppers and  oreagano.  After filling up each jar she would top them off with a bay leaf and then add the oil and put the lids on and set them in the big blue canning pot to process. When we were finished, we labeled and dated them before they went to the cold celler .

      “Alora,  Josie, “ Grandpop would say, “One last time before we put the grill away; let’s have some steaks!” Not only was the grill used to cook the steaks but also to warm us up on that chilly Autunm evening. “Lasci noi li ha coi Pomodori Verdi la Signora ha fatto,” Grandpop said. ( Let us have them with the green tomatoes the “Lady” made.) As we sat and enjoyed those steaks we would reflect on the exceptional summer we had cooking al fresco (outdoors.)

Appetito viene in mangiare.

Appetite comes in eating.

Grazie,

Joe



Growing up in the Butcher Shop:  Halloween / Ognissanti and Festa dei Morti

Ciao Amici,

     Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve when I was growing up in the butcher shop, was held at night and only the children from our neighborhood came to Trick or Treat. Now it is held during the day and people come from all over, not just the neighborhood anymore.

     Halloween, the traditional spooky day of costumes, fright and eating too much candy,  is slowly gaining popularity in Italy. The Italians celebrate All Saints Day [Ognissanti or Tutti Santi] on November 1st  and it is a day dedicated to honoring all the Saints and Martyrs who have died for the Catholic Faith. The following day, November 2nd, is

“ll Giorno dei Morti” or All Soul’s Day, probably named so because “Day of the Dead“ doesn't have a nice ring to it. It is a day for remembering those that were close to us who passed away.  Italians will typically vist the cemetery on either of those two days and bring flowers and candles to honor their departed loved ones. Contrary to what you may think, this is a festive time in Italy. It is a celebration of life and the importance of the La famiglia [the family]. All Saints Day is a  national holiday in Italy of which many businesses are closed.

     For La Festa dei Morti the adults leave assorted sweets and toys out for children. The children believe that if they are good throughout the year, they will awaken to treats left by their departed Grandparents.  For many Italians, the origins of Halloween matters less than a chance to festa [party]. Much like America , children in Italy enjoy dressing up and walking from store to store asking “Scherzetto  o Dolcetto?” [“Trick or Treat”].

      Many are known to set an empty seat at the dinner table to welcome a departed relative. Of course, food is an important part of this feast. One traditional treat is “osa dei Morte” or literally “bones of the dead.”  It is a white cookie made in the shape of bones, from almonds, sugar, and lemon. My wife loves Halloween and every year I like to buy her a new broom whether she rides it or not!

Morte lascia un'angoscia nessuno può guarire, amore lascia una memoria nessuno può rubare.

- Da una pietra tombale in Irlanda

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.

-From a headstone in Ireland

Con Cordiali Saluti,

Joe



Growing up in the Butcher: “Italian-American Entrepreneurs                                                                  

Growing up in the Butcher Grand pop would always point out to me successful entrepreneurs that were Italian American. Here is a list of some of them that were in the food business that you may not be aware are Italian Americans.

  • Hector Boyardee, famous for his Chef Boyardee brand of food products
  • Domenico Canale (1843–1919), founder of D. Canale & Co., major distributor of food and beverages
  • Nicholas D'Agostino, Sr. (1910–1996), co-founder of D'Agostino Supermarkets
  • Fred DeLuca, founder of Subway Sandwich
  • Giorgio DeLuca, founder of Dean & DeLuca
  • Bill Gallo, founder of Columbia Grain Trading Inc. which he developed into the No. 1 supplier of soybeans to China
  • Domingo Ghirardelli (1817–1894), founder of Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
  • Gennaro Lombardi, opened the first US pizzeria in 1905, Lombardi's
  • Robert Mondavi (1913–2008), leading vineyard operator in California's Napa Valley
  • Amedeo Obici (1877–1947), founder of the Planters Peanut Company in 1906
  • Mario Peruzzi (1875–1955), co-founder of Planters Peanut Company in 1906
  • Anthony T. Rossi (1900–1993), Italian immigrant who founded Tropicana Product

Con cordiali saluti,

Joe



Growing up in the Butcher: “I Am an Italian-American”

Angelo Bianchi, Esq., 1982

Every year the U.S. President signs an executive order designating the month of October as National Italian American Heritage Month. Coinciding with the festivities surrounding Columbus Day, the proclamation is in recognition of the many achievements, contributions, and success of Americans of Italian descent as well as Italians in America. I would like pass along this poem by Angelo Bianchi which captures many things you may not know about Italian Americans.

· I am an Italian-American. My roots are deep in an ancient soil, drenched by the Mediterranean sun, and watered by pure streams from snow capped mountains.

· I am enriched by thousands of years of culture. My hands are those of the mason, the artist, the man of the soil.

· My thoughts have been recounted in the annals of Rome, the poetry of Virgil, the creations of Dante, and the philosophy of Benedetto Croce.

       . I am an Italian-American, and from my ancient world, I first spanned the seas to the New World.

· I am Cristoforo Colombo.

· I am Giovanne Caboto known in American History as John Cabot, discoverer of the mainland of North America.

· I am Amerigo Vespucci, who gave my name to the New World, America.

· First to sail on the Great Lakes in 1679, founder of the territory that became the State of Illinois, colonizer of Louisiana and Arkansas, I am Enrico Tonti.

· I am Filippo Mazzei friend of Thomas Jefferson, and my thesis on the equality of man was written into the Bill of Rights.

· I am William Paca, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

· I am an Italian-American; I financed the Northwest Expedition of George Rogers Clark and accompanied him through the lands that would become Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.

· I am Colonel Francesco Vigo.

· I mapped the Pacific from Mexico to Alaska and to the Philippines, I am Alessandro Malaspina.

· I am Giacomo Belinimi, discoverer of the source of the Mississippi River in 1823.

· I created the Dome of the United States Capitol. They call me the Michelangelo of America. I am Constantino Brumidi.

· In 1904, I founded in San Francisco, the Bank of Italy now known as the Bank of America, the largest financial institution in the world, I am A.P. Giannini.

· I am Enrico Fermi, father of nuclear science in America.

· I am Steve Geppi, founder of Diamond Comics, the largest distributorship of comics on the planet.

· I am the first enlisted man to earn the Medal of Honor in World War II; I am John Basilone of New Jersey. I am an Italian-American.

· I am the million strong who served in America’s armies and the tens of thousands whose names are enshrined in military cemeteries from Guadalcanal to the Rhine.

· I am the steel maker in Pittsburgh, the grower in the Imperial Valley of California, the textile designer in Manhattan, the movie maker in Hollywood, the homemaker and the breadwinner in over 10,000 communities.

· I am an American without stint or reservation, loving this land as only one who understands history, its agonies and its triumphs can love and serve it.

· Will not be told that my contribution is any less nor my role not as worthy as that of any other American.

· I will stand in support of this nation’s freedom and protect against all foes.

· My heritage has dedicated me to this nation. I am proud of my heritage, and I shall remain worthy of it.

· I am an Italian-American.

Con cordiali saluti,

Joe



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Pearl Bailey Quotes

Ciao Amici,
I resently saw an Old Dick Cavet Show an Pearl Bailey was his guest. Some of the qoutes reminded me of of the women in Roseto that were my grandmothers generation . here are some Pearl Bailey qoutes I thought you would enjoy .

"People see God every day, they just don't recognize him."
"La gente vede Dio ogni giorno, semplicemente non lo riconosce".

"The way we're going to get to understanding is for each man to open his heart and open his mind and look in himself as he looks at his neighbor."
"Il modo in cui riusciremo a capire è che ogni uomo apra il suo cuore e apra la sua mente e guardi dentro se stesso mentre guarda al suo vicino".

"What the world really needs is more love and less paper work."
"Ciò di cui il mondo ha realmente bisogno è più amore e meno lavoro di carta". ~

"You must change in order to survive."
"Devi cambiare per sopravvivere." ~

"Everybody wants to do something to help, but nobody wants to be the first."
"Tutti vogliono fare qualcosa per aiutare, ma nessuno vuole essere il primo."

"My kitchen is a mystical place, a kind of temple for me. It is a place where
the surfaces seem to have significance, where the sounds and odors carry
meaning that transfers from the past and bridges to the future."
"La mia cucina è un posto mistico, una specie di tempio per me. È un posto dove
le superfici sembrano avere un significato, dove portano i suoni e gli odori
il che significa trasferimenti dal passato e ponti verso il futuro. "

"The deed of love is stronger than words" ~
"L'atto d'amore è più forte delle parole" ~

Grazie, 

Joe



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop:  Pickled Green Tomatoes /  Pomodori sottaceti Verdi

Ciao Amici,

     When the garden came to a close I got great pleasure from helping my Grandmother pulito sul giardino (clean up the garden.) One plant still growing were the tomatoes. Grandmom pulled out a few  vines before the frost with the green tomatoes still on them and we’d hang them in the basement to ripen. It was amazing to see those tomatoes ripen without being in the ground. With some of those green tomatoes we would just slice and then dip them in corn meal and fry some right away, but that was just to pass the vooley (desire). The last thing we did with the green tomatoes was we pickled them so that we could enjoy them in the winter as a side dish to go along with a sangwitch. I  helped Grandmom wash and slice the tomatoes  and then salt them over night. Sale (salt) is a mineral use to flavor a dish, but before refrigeration it, was also used to help preserve food.

     The next day we rinsed the tomatoes and Grandmom added celery, onion, garlic, vinegar peppers and  oreagano.  After filling up each jar she would top them off with a bay leaf and then add the oil and put the lids on and set them in the big blue canning pot to process. When we were finished, we labeled and dated them before they went to the cold celler .

      “Alora,  Josie, “ Grandpop would say, “One last time before we put the grill away; let’s have some steaks!” Not only was the grill used to cook the steaks but also to warm us up on that chilly Autunm evening. “Lasci noi li ha coi Pomodori Verdi la Signora ha fatto,” Grandpop said. ( Let us have them with the green tomatoes the “Lady” made.) As we sat and enjoyed those steaks we would reflect on the exceptional summer we had cooking al fresco (outdoors.)

Appetito viene in mangiare
Appetite comes in eating.

Grazie,
Joe



Growing up in the Butcher:  Mortadella /Bologna

Ciao Amici,   

     Among the many different cold cuts we sell at our shop, one of them is Mortadella. For the most part, I can always tell when a customer comes in and asks for Mortadella; that’s usually a sign that they were born in Italy; like my Mom because they know what it is. Mortadella is the most famous cured sausage in the culinary tradition of the city of Bologna, Italy. Mortadella is made of finely ground heat cured pork which contains 15% small cubes of pork fat [chiefly the hard fat from the neck of the pig]. It is flavored with spices including whole or ground black and white pepper, myrtle berries, nutmeg and pistachios. Can you believe my Amerdigon wife actually likes Mortadella? It’s her favorite Italian cold cut!

     Some historians have traced it’s origins as far back as 1233. Mortadella is essentially the Italian “grandfather” of traditional bologna.  Because of Mortadella’s antiquated history it has gathered the usual assortment of how the name came about. One theory is that it is named because a mortar [Italian mortaio] was used to pound the meat fine. Another theory is that it was named after the myrtle berries, a popular spice before pepper became available, used to season the sausage. And yet another concept is that it means the death [morta] of it [della] and that the mortar notion was made up so not to scare off customers who’d rather not be reminded of the association between death and meat. Though it is a matter of opinion, many say that American Bologna does not taste as good as its Italian predecessor.  The producers of Mortadella say it is like comparing fine French champagne to Ripple.

      In a 1971 film, “ La Mortadella“, Sophia Loren plays an Italian immigrant who comes to New York with a 20lb Mortadella;  a wedding  present given to her from co workers at the Mortadella Factory. “You can’t bring salami into the country,” they said. “It’s not salami, it’s Mortadella”, she replies. As various agencies are arguing about what to do she and some of the custom employees eat the delicious Mortadella before any punishment can be arranged.

“Nessuna materia come sottile l'affetta, è ancora fandonia.”

 ~ Alfred Emanuel Smith

“No matter how thin you slice it, it's still baloney.”

 ~Alfred Emanuel Smith

Cordiali saluti, 

Joe



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Thumbs Up and Thumbs Down | Pollice in Alto e Pollice in Giù

Ciao Amici,

     When I asked my grandson Tazio how the Mozzarella I had given him was he gave me the thumbs up. It made me think I wonder where the sign came from. From Collins English Dictionary the meaning is a thumbs-up or a thumbs-up sign is a sign that you make by raising your thumb to show that you agree with someone, that you are happy with an idea or situation, or that everything is all right. If someone gives a plan, idea, or suggestion the thumbs-down, they do not approve of it and refuse to accept it. It’s a widely recognized gesture: fingers curled into the palm, thumb stretched out, pointing skyward. But what’s the history of the gesture and how did it come to mean “yes” or “O.K.”?  As usual, all roads lead to Italy. But first off, the idea that the up- or downturned thumb originated as a gesture that would save or cost a gladiator’s life in Ancient Rome — an idea popularized by the movie Gladiator — isn’t quite right.. The thumbs-up sign that today means “O.K.” in that lexicon expressed disapproval. We don’t have videotapes of people from antiquity. We have some sculptural references but it’s mostly verbal references,” says Anthony Corbeill, a professor of Latin at the University of Virginia, who wrote a book on gestures in ancient Rome. “Sparing is pressing the thumb to the top of the fist and death is a thumbs-up. In other words, it’s the opposite of what we think.” Historical confusion about that thumb-pressing gesture exposes just how difficult it can be to track the evolution of body language. The Latin term for the gesture of approval, Corbeill explains, is pollices premere, which means “press your thumbs” and has been described by Pliny the Elder as a common gesture of good wishes. But that doesn’t help much. “The verb premere in latin is just as am Corbeill located an example of what exactly the gesture might look in Nîmes, in southern France, when he found an appliqué medallion that shows a scene from a gladiatorial battle. “What’s great about these is that they often have text accompanying them, so what you see very clearly is two gladiators fighting to a standstill. There’s two referees around them breaking up the battle and up above it says, in Latin, STANTES MISSI, which means ‘let the men who are still standing be released,'” he says. “And right underneath, one of the referees is pressing his thumb. He’s got a fist with his thumb pressing down on it.” So the crowd didn’t decide the fate of the gladiator, but rather a referee in the arena who would use that gesture to communicate a decision about whether the fighter should be spared. Two textual descriptions of a gladiatorial battle, from the poets Juvenal and Prudentius, both reference the pollice verso or pollice converso, the “turned” thumb, as the signal for death. “This is the reason often historians have thought of the thumb turned down,” Corbeille says, but there’s evidence that the turn would have gone in the other direction. As the American usage of a thumbs-up as “O.K.” expanded in the 20th Century, older negative meanings remained in some areas of the world. But with Internet giants like YouTube and Facebook using a small thumbs-up for ‘like’ and a thumbs down for ‘dislike,’ the two gestures — thousands of years after thumbs were a matter of life and death — may now have acquired a near-universal meaning. Well, either way, Tazio’s thumbs up sure put a smile on my face. J

Best Regards / Con cordiali saluti

Joe



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: / Fine dell'estate /End of summer

Ciao Amici,

     As we get into the dog days of summer, I am reminded of how hot dogs and summertime seem to go together. Besides the regular hot dog cooked on the grill, my Grandfather Phil would sometimes say, “Hey Josie, tonight we are going western !” Wagon wheels (roule macaroni ) with Showay  Showay  sauce made with  good olive oil, sauté  whole garlic which when turns golden you add the fresh tomatoes that have been peeled, salt, pepper, fresh chopped basil and fresh parsley. Let it simmer for only fifteen minutes, add hot red pepper if you like. Then we had the western hot dog. Grandpop would split the hot dog lengthwise without cutting it through, open it and add sliced cheese of your choice. He’d close and wrap the hot dog with bacon and secure it with toothpicks and grill until the bacon becomes crisp. Place it in a roll and add chopped raw onions along with whatever condiments you like. Tastes so good it was hard to just eat two.

       My dad Marty and his cousin Dante were determined to copy “Jimmy’s Hot Dog” recipe. They were able to come up with the ingredients and method but something wasn’t  right. After going though the process again, they realized they forgot one thing .It was the final step; they forgot to wrap it in wax paper. By wrapping it in wax paper the steam helped the flavor of all the ingredients  marry and when you opened it up to eat , the aroma was released and it just tasted better.

     As I started my catering business, my Dad’s cousin, Joe Duece, gave me a recipe that we made for the Unico meeting; hot dogs and hot peppers. Sauté onions and garlic, add long hot peppers, crushed tomatoes and hot dogs sliced on the bias and let it simmer.  The heat of the sauce can be adjusted by removing some of the seeds from the hot peppers or adding hot sauce. This dish was not served in a roll but as a stew with fresh Italian bread to dunk. No problem if you needed your sinus cleared.

     My Grandmom Teodora was a bit of a pusher as far food was concerned. My friends

can a test to that. “Mangia,”she would say. “You are too skinny, just try, you don’t know what you’re missing unless you try.” One thing Grandmom didn’t like was ketchup!  As we would put it on our hot dogs we would tease her and ask, “Grand mom, do you want ketchup? You don’t know what you’re missing if you don’t try it!”  Grandmom would smile and we all had a good laugh!

Do you have a favorite hot dog recipe you ‘d like to share? Please E-mail me.

Fare, sfare eMigliorae

Do and undo to make better

Best Regards / Con cordiali saluti

Joe



Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Lost School / Perso Scuola

Ciao Amici, 

     As schools open for the year I have a feeling of emptiness. The schools that I attended along with my brothers and daughters are no longer open. The school bells ringing, the students and their parents crying on their first day of school, the pencils sharpening, the rustle of books in and out of the desks, the nuns and teachers commencing the Pledge of Allegiance, the Hail Mary and Our Father are silent after so many years. The laughter and the tears of playing at recess in the playground will not be heard there anymore only the silence and echoes of days gone by. The early hours of migrating south on Garibaldi Avenue or Chestnut St.  as other students came west from Roseto Ave. or east from the Ball Park, Front St., Dante, and Dewey, or North from 6th, 7th, 8th or 9th streets have come to an end.  There will still be students waiting for buses to take them to schools which seem so far away when you compare that many of us only had to walk to our school. When I first attended school I had an advantage of knowing many of my classmates most of their parents were customers at the butcher shop. There were second cousins, neighbors, and friends that were in my class if someone was not known it just took minutes to know who they were. They were one of us if not we would make them one of us. That is how strong the town was. How they instilled in us the mantra, “One for all and all for one.” Now when I remember fall and all that the classes I attended can recall, I will be only remembering the shadows of my school.
Famiglia è la prima scuola per i bambini e i genitori sono modelli forti.

Family is the first school for young children, and parents are powerful models.

Con cordiali saluti, 

Joe



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Grandmother Said It Best / La Nonna Lo Ha Detto Meglio

Ciao Amici,

      I recently came across a book called “Grandmother Said It Best,” edited by Joseph Antinoro-Polizza and Angeline Guzzetta-Jones. This quote is from the book: “The Italians were one of several groups of people who arrived on North American shores bringing with them such an ancient and truly original oral storehouse.” Most of the sayings I remember my grandmother saying and usually when you needed to here it said. Here are some of my favorites in Italian then in English.

Chi rispetta rispettato Sara

He Who Respects other will be respected

L`educazione dei figli si deveincominciare nelle braccia dell sua Madre

A Child’s education ought to begin in his Mother’s arms

Fa male epensaci,fa benee dimentichi

Do ill and regret it ,do good and forget

Come viene,si conta

Take things as they come

Se Hai la Polvere , Spara !

If you have gunpowder, shoot!

(If you have talent use it)

Come si semina.cosi si raccoglie

As you sow, so shall you reap

II Cavallo schifoso,muore magro

The finicky horse dies skinny

(Fussiness gets one nowhere)

Non c’e rosa senza spina

There is no Rose without a thorn

(There is no happiness or joy without some sorrow)

Chi ha la salute e ricco e noblo sa

He who has his health is wealthy and doesn’t realize it

(Good health is wealth)

Lo scorzo le cipolle, e a te ti bruciano gli occhi

I’m peeling the onions and you complain your eyes are burning

Do you remember any Italian Quotes your grandmother said? We would love to hear from you at E-mail: portipasto@ptd.net

Grazie,

Joe        



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Live For The Moment / Vivi Per Il Momento

Ciao Amici,

Back to school in July?  Halloween in August? Christmas in October? This annoying retail trend is here to stay. Growing up in the butcher shop back then I believe that if my grandparents were here today they would shake their heads in disbelief and  would say the Merdicans are ruining it for us by using this “ holiday creep”. It is one thing to plan ahead but getting both trick or treat goodies along with stocking stuffers to start so early ruins it for me.   At one time stores waited until after Thanksgiving to bring out the Christmas items but now any thing goes. Stores claim they are giving customers what they want, for the stores it is all about getting ahead start on the competition. When we sat at the table for our Sunday dinner of macaroni and gravy meat, it was like the Frank Sinatra song says, “Let's forget about tomorrow, Let's forget about tomorrow, Let's forget about tomorrow for tomorrow never comes, Domani, forget domaini, Let's live for now and anyhow who needs domaini?” For those moments will never happen again and I am so grateful I was able to experience them. As I recall in some ways my grandparents lived a simple happy life. They removed unneeded possessions; they smiled and knew that each day is full of endless possibilities! Grandmom started her day with a smile. She was in control of her attitude every morning she was optimistic and fully appreciated the moments of today.  They loved what they did for a living. They did not have to “survive” the workweek constantly waiting for the next weekend “to get here” I never remember them dwelling on past accomplishments. Grandpop would say, “If you are still talking about what you did yesterday, you haven’t done much today”. Worrying was not on their to do list. They were appreciative of today and did not worry too much about tomorrow realizing that tomorrow is going to happen whether you worry about it or not. They were always ahead of their time and beyond old solutions to problems. Our world is changing so fast that most of yesterday’s solutions are no longer the right answers today. They were not locked into a “but that’s how we’ve always done it” mentality. They were always progressively thinking that yesterday’s solutions are not today’s solutions and they are certainly not tomorrow’s solutions.

Grazie,

Joe         



Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Zucchini / “Cucuzza”

Ciao Amici, 

      August 8th is Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night.  For those of you who have a garden and for some of us who grow up with a garden, it is that time of year when zucchini are plentiful. Established by Pennsylvanian Tom Roy, this day encourages sharing. "Due to the overzealous planting of zucchini, citizens are asked to drop off baskets of the squash on neighbors' doorsteps."

     Grandmom and Grandpop created many recipes in order to utilize those zucchini. As an appetizer they grated them, added eggs and flour and then pan fried them like a pancake. The blossoms as well were battered and fried. They’d put the zucchini in a delicious Frittata.  As a soup course, they were combined with celery, carrots, green beans, onions, potatoes and a little loose sausage. In addition to that were the homemade canned tomatoes. For the pasta course, the farfalla (butterfly-shaped) pasta is chosen to be topped off with the zucchini, sausage and tomatoes. The main course that was prepared with zucchini was breaded, fried and layered with fresh sauce, mozzarella, and grated pecorino cheese for Alla Parmingana. Sometimes Grandmom stuffed them with the ground beef like you would a stuffed pepper. Mom made use of the cucuzza in the chicken cacciatore with the peppers, mushrooms, onions and sauce. Aunt Theresa made the dessert with her tasty zucchini cake.  Grandpop liked to make the zucchini pickled with mint; so we could put it on the antipasto in the winter months.

     I recently saw there was the Zucchini 500 in Easton where by the souped-up Zucchini are raced similar to the pinewood derby. I would like your recipe to race to my plate. Enter your recipe in our Zucchini Recipe Contest and win a prize.

“Now you can have your pasta and your chicken cacciatore

I'd rather have Cucuzza cause for me it means amore

So when the moon is shining bright on old dear Napoli

I dream of my Cucuzza. She's the only dish for me.” - Louis Prima

Con Cordiali Saluti,

Joe



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Coffee Break / Pausa Caffè


Ciao Amici,
     I’m reminiscing about some of the traditions my family and people from Roseto did.  I recall the times my mom would spend with her friends having coffee. I am not sure if my mom got this from growing up in the coffee bar her parents owned in Italy or something she picked it up here in America.  All I know is almost daily friends would be at the kitchen enjoying the coffee with each other. My mom assimilated to the American coffee but if any one asked for espresso, it was always available. Having a cup of coffee with a biscotti, oil pretzel or taralli was a time to take a break and relax with friends rather then sitting and drinking alone. The sharing of the coffee break was important. When you share the same drink and you drink it at the same time as others a bond is formed and creates moments of well being and contentment. Situations and problems are discussed and sometimes conclusions and trusted friendships’ are reached. When sitting down for coffee with friends there were no cell phones to distract each other from talking. They engaged into conversations and would sometimes help people though difficult situations. Also at work it helped people get along with co-workers better.  A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology showed that workers/ workplaces who consume coffee have a more positive view of self and others than do workers/ workspaces that do not consume coffee. Coffee consumption also enhanced participation in workplace group activities. Research also indicates that drinking coffee is associated with a lower risk of depression. Coffee may have a stabilizing effect on mood. So drink up and have a cup of joe.

Come tutti gli altri che commettono l'errore di invecchiare, comincio ogni giorno con caffè e necrologi.
Like everyone else who makes the mistake of getting older, I begin each day with coffee and obituaries.

Grazie, Joe         



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Big Time Memories / Grandi Ricordi di Tempo

Ciao Amici,

It’s time to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Growing up in Roseto this tradition was as strong as the grappa they would drink. No event is more important than the “Big Time”, a festival that originated in Roseto, Valfortore, Italy. The Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is celebrated on the last Sunday in July. I was fortunate that my Mom was born in Roseto Valfortore as she instilled the love of the blessed Mother in us. The festival actually began three years before the church was built, following a hometown tradition in Roseto, Valfortore, Italy. The original settlers from Italy had no church, but a visiting priest came through once a month. One of the church's early pastors, Father Pasquale de Nisco, named the celebration "Big Time" as it grew. People came from Philadelphia, Scranton and New York in earlier days, but many of them have passed on and their children and grandchildren don't follow the tradition any more. This will be the 125th celebration and I’m fortunate to be here for 62years of them. I was born July 29th 1956 the Sunday of the “Big Time” so with the Italian tradition my middle name is Carmen because I was born on this feast day. As a child I looked forward to going to the “Big Time” with my parents and also walking in the procession as an Altar Boy with Father Leone. As I got older I would go with friends and living right there on Garibaldi Avenue we’d have parties at my house. I have memories of taking my children to the “Big Time” and also watching them in the Procession as Princesses. Now I am blessed to taking my grandchildren. The “Big Time” was held in the former football field [known as the dust bowl], then it moved behind the former Pius X high school to where it is now, at the former elementary school, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School. It is sad to see the change in some traditions but we were fortunate that our family absorbed their religion, and it was a vital part of everyone’s family lives. Back then religion and family roots always went together. It's attributed to our grandparents because they lived their faith and taught us.

Grazie, Joe 



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: What have all the Fig Trees gone?

Ciao Amici,

Where have all the Fig Trees gone, long time passing?
Where are all the Fig trees, long time ago?
Where have all the Fig trees gone?
Italian Grandfathers have picked them everyone.
Oh, when will we ever learn?
Oh, when will we ever learn? 

Where are all the Tomato plants, long time passing?
Where are all the Tomato plants  long time ago?
Where have all the Tomato plants gone?
Gone for Italian Grandmothers everyone.
Oh, when will we ever learn?
Oh, when will we ever learn?

Where have all the Sunday Macaroni Dinners gone, long time passing?
Where have all the Sunday Macaroni Dinners gone, long time ago?
Where have all the Sunday Macaroni Dinners gone?
Gone by the wayside everyone is to busy 
Oh, when will we ever learn?
Oh, when will we ever learn? 

Where have all the Old Friends and Neighbors gone, long time passing?
Where have all the Old Friends and Neighbors gone, long time ago?
Where have all the Old Friends and Neighbors gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone.
Oh, when will we ever learn?
Oh, when will we ever learn? 


Grazie, Joe   



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Caprese Salad / Insalata Caprese

Ciao Amici,

     With summer coming into full gear it is time for Caprese Salad. The first mention of the beloved Caprese Salad was in the early 1920s, Caprese Salad appeared on the Hotel Quisisana menu; where Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, founder of Futurism, in the summer of 1924 protested pasta calling it “outdated”.  Many years later, in the 1950s, it is noted that King Farouk, having requested a menu item that would be light on his stomach, as an afternoon appetizer, was served a bread encasing fresh mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes, and the fresh herb basil. Caprese Salad is definitely one of the discoveries of the twentieth century; with vast tourism taking place, the Caprese no longer would be called a Capri recipe, it became an international dish. Meanwhile, the Caprese Salad would become very much so improved when the traditional vaccine mozzarella was replaced with bufala mozzarella, a dairy product typical of Campania, Italy.  Everyone has their own, but the basic rules in Capri are: The mozzarella must be large, if possible a piece by at least half a kilo, because the quality of the flavor is directly proportional to its size. The small mozzarellas are therefore not suited. Buffalo milk is tastier than cow's milk. The tomatoes should be neither unripe nor overripe: that is, they must have some sauce but also retain consistency; the color should be "ramato" [a copper red]. They should be cut a little in advance to lose the cold of the refrigerator, lightly salted and gently turned into a bowl to let the excess sauce come out. When it is time to put the salad together, just a little tomato juice and mozzarella milk will keep the dish moist: but, as the Latins used to say "est modus in rebus" [there must be a measure in all things], a caprese must be neither too dry nor too liquid. The appearance of the composition is up to the creativity of the chef! Basil leaves must be broken by hand and not with a knife [the basil otherwise may take a metallic taste, or, according to an age-old superstition, scorpions will rise from it...]. It should never be substituted with oregano, which might be too invasive for this recipe. The caprese should rest then a quarter of an hour, and consumed without bread. If you want to, but it is not necessary and some do not like it, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil can be added. One could easily fall in head over heels with the simple delicious dish called Caprese Salad, which has in itself the colors and flavors of some of the very ingredients that have been used in the history of fine Italian cooking: tomato, basil, and mozzarella. The Caprese is an uncooked Mediterranean dish where ingredients are everything, and the recipe has a simple yet intense flavor. It’s easy to fall in love with this simple and refined dish, which has in itself the colors and flavors of some of the products that have made the history of Italian cooking: tomato, basil and mozzarella. The caprese is also a lifestyle, being an uncooked dish where quality ingredients are everything and the taste is so simple but intense. As Grandmom would make it she would say “Sembra la bandiera del nostro paese d'origine “ [Looks like the flag from our home country.]
 

Grazie, Joe                




Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Steak / Bistecca

Ciao Amici,    

     Being Italian American my family loved our macaroni but being Butchers we also loved our steak. One of Grandpop and dad’s favorites was the porterhouse, It is cut from the rear section of a short beef loin and contains a large section of the tenderloin. There are a number of theories as to how the porterhouse steak got its name. A 1909 article in the New York Times speculates that food and drink establishments were once called porter houses, and this particular cut of steak was first served in a porter house. Another publication takes this idea a step further by asserting that a Manhattan porter house owner named Martin Morrison allegedly served the first porterhouse steak in 1814. The T-Bone was also cut from the short loin the  only difference is the tenderloin  part of the T- bone is smaller. Both Steaks are best suited for dry heat cooking method such as grilling or broiling. As a young boy waiting for grand pop to come back from peddling on Saturdays in his meat wagon. I would look forward to helping him cook on the grill. The steak he would sometimes grill was what is known as a “Bistecca alla Florentina”. He would start the grill. All he would put on it was salt & pepper. The quality of the beef did not require anything else. Thickly cut and very large it was often shared. Grilled 3 to 5 minutes per side and only flipped once and then he would let it stand vertically on its bone so some of the blood would drain. Sometimes he would add a little olive oil immediately after the meat came off the grill. The Sound, Arouma.’s and Taste of yesterday are brought back to life and enjoyed once again.

American author Mark Twain was unimpressed with Europe's food while traveling abroad in 1878. He requested that a pan-fried porterhouse steak with mushrooms be ready for him upon his arrival back home.

"The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook"  -Julia Child

"Il solo tempo mangiare sta a dieta cibo è durante aspetta per la fetta di carne cucinare"

Con cordiali saluti, Joe

My book, “Growing up in the Butcher Shop“is available at the shop, email us or at Amazon.com. To receive menu specials and our newsletter Join our mailing list at our WEB PAGE: www.JDeFrancoandDaughters.com -Click on Mailing List and enter your e-mail Send us your Roseto stories, recipes and comments to E-mail: portipasto@epix.net or call us 610-588-6991 Store Hours: 7 to 7 Seven Days a Week with Catering Anytime




Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Summer Time Joys / Estate Tempo Gioie

Ciao Amici,
      Looking back to the summers before air conditioning was common place, the heat was bothersome but we made up for it by running through sprinklers or having my friends join me in the walk in refrigerator in the butcher shop. Sometimes we would wait for Dairy Dan or Dom for an ice cream treat. After playing outside Grandmom would have us gather to the sink to wash up and afterwards she would run cold water over our wrist to cool us down. Then she would have prepared for us the fruits of the season and eating fresh produce from the garden like watermelon, cantaloupe or honeydew which also helped to cool us down. Back in those days certain fresh fruit and vegetables were not available except in the summer, do to the fact that there were no imports from the southern hemisphere like there is today. So when we bit into a fresh watermelon and the juice dripped all over our shirts, those were the real treats reserved for the summertime only. While sitting on the bench in front of the butcher shop savoring the sweet freshness of summer from my Grandparent’s fresh garden produce, this is the passion for freshness that they instilled in me. It is the memories of time spent with Grandmom or Grandpop in the garden and still to this day I’ve learned that what is in season is the freshest and the least expensive.

 Ah, l'estate e la sua potenza è necessario ci fanno soffrire e simili.

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker

Con cordiali saluti, 

Joe 


My book, “Growing up in the Butcher Shop“ is available at the shop or on our web page to receive menu specials and our newsletter by join our mailing list at our WEB PAGE: www.JDeFrancoandDaughters.com - Click on Mailing List and enter your e-mail Send us your Roseto stories, recipes and comments to E-mail: portipasto@epix.net or call 610-588-6991 Store Hours: 7 to 7 seven days a week with catering anytime or by appointment.



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Coffee / Caffe Espresso

Ciao Amici,     
      One item that separated the Italian Americans from the Americans, while growing up in the butcher shop was coffee. When friends would come to visit they were asked which coffee they would like; black or brown? Some would ask, what you mean.  Grandmom would explain, black means Italian Espresso and brown means American. The main difference between espresso coffee and regular coffee is that the espresso beans are roasted until they are dark and oily-looking and they are ground very fine; much finer then drip coffee. Back in the day, Grandmom and Grandpop had their own coffee roaster in the butcher shop and some of my older customers now tell me that when my grandparents roasted their coffee, the whole town smelled like coffee. While walking on Garibaldi Avenue the  smell of coffee would attract customers to stop and buy some. The next day they would roast peanuts and again they produced same effect.   

     My grandparents on my mom’s side, Giuseppe & Clemintina, had a coffee bar in Roseto Valfatore.  The bars in Italy are unlike the bars here. In Italy you can have your liquors along with espresso but also have ice cream ( gelato), cannoli, biscotti and the like.  My Uncle Lorenzo keeps his family tradition and sells Danesi Espresso in Washington D.C and also services espresso machines. After a long meal, the ounce and a half cup of espresso tops off the meal. Lemon peel was used during

WW 11, when people could not get espresso and had to use chicory instead.  The lemon twist cut the bitterness. When I went to Roseto Valfatore, my Nona made caffe latte; it was half warm milk and half espresso served in a large cup.

     When I was around 8 years old my family in trusted me to be the barista.  We did not have any thing fancy, just a large stove top espresso pot. I would fill the bottom with water up to the release valve. Then grind the beans fine and place in the strainer and then screw the top on and put it on the fire on low. I would get the espresso cups my mom had gotten from her parents in Italy, and line up the demitasse spoons, made sure the sugar bowl was full and wait for the sound of the pot to know that it was ready. What a wonderful rich aroma that would permeate the house. We all sat down and were asked again, black or brown. Not only after dinner, but also sometimes in the afternoon we would make espresso if friends would come over to kibitz. As my article comes to a close, my espresso pot is whistling and I smell that my Coffee (Black) is ready.

Cambiano I suonatori ma la Musica sempre quella
The melody’s changed but the song remains the same

Best Regards / Con cordiali saluti
Joe



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Star Wars / Stella La Guerra

Ciao Amici,

       Among many children, my grandson Deacon is fascinated with Star Wars.
With all the weapons used in Star Wars like  Fusion Cutter, Wrist Rockets, Flame Throwers, Missile Launchers, Ryyk Blades, Flechette Launcher, Force Pike [aka “Stun Pole”], Bowcaster [aka the “Wookiee Crossbow”] Blaster and Lightsaber. For me Grandpop’s Ford pick up, meat wagon and cattle truck were my imagery Spaceships. Times were different back then Grandpop always had a loaded 22 rifle in his pickup truck. The slaughterhouse had a vast array of weapons [tools]. There was a lift to raise the animals, a big stone wheel to sharpen tools also cleavers, hatchets, meat saws, all sizes of skinning knifes , machetes, S hooks, Tripod hooks, band saws, chains and sledge hammers there was also a cauldron fueled by wood to make the scrapple and a smoker where Grandpop smoked the ring bologna.  As Grandpop and Sio Cola [Uncle Nick] would put on the large yellow water proof aprons they were ready to do battle.  The sounds as they worked together in a systematic regiment insuring efficient perfection, I won’t soon forget. In the butcher Shop watching Grandmom with her braids you may say was like Princess Lea as she conversed with customers, then as they ordered would begin to battle the different cuts of meat on the large butcher block, hearing the sounds of the grinder and band saw was like sounds of engines in space until in ended with the hearing of the cash register. 
"La forza sarà con voi. Sempre." - Kenobi
“The Force will be with you. Always.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi
Grazie,
Joe



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Macaroni with Vegetables / Maccheroni con Verdure

Ciao Amici,

     Everyone knows about the Sunday Macaroni with gravy meat dinners with the meatballs, sausage, bracioli, pork ribs, lamb shank and the like. Being Italian though, we also enjoyed the macaroni during week as well. Grandpop, Grandmom, Mom & Dad all had their favorite recipes that we all enjoyed. Some we had with the Olio d'oliva e aglio [olive oil & garlic] such as Chick-a Dade [cavatelli] and broccoli such a simple dish to make  with only a few ingredients but to make it correctly they always used fresh broccoli, a good quality extra virgin olive oil, fresh garlic and the homemade pasta. We saved the ricotta for the ravioli. The Chick a dades we made only had flour, water, eggs and olive oil. Even with simple ingredient the timing was crucial for making the dish a success. Like making sure the broccoli, garlic and pasta were cooked just right. After bringing the dish to the table, Grandmom would add the red pepper flakes and the Pecorino Romano cheese. Mom added nothing but salt. Other pasta dishes they would make were Ziti and Cauliflower and Cabbage with Malfalda [ribbons]. These recipes were enjoyed with what we called Shoe way Shoe way sauce made by sauté whole cloves of garlic then adding whole peeled tomatoes that you crush in the pot then add basil and parsley. Again It not just the amount of the ingredients but the cooking technique and the quality of said ingredient. Also who can forget their Friday night pasta specials of macaroni with Ceci beans, beans or peas. The aroma filled the air and as customers came into the Butcher Shop, as they do here at the shop, compliment us and say how it is just like the aroma at their Nonna’s home.

What is the fastest Italian Car?
No not a Ferrari, Maserati or Bugatti,
What then? A Fazool because you can’t Pasta Fazool

Grazie,
Joe and family



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Memorial Day Speech / Giornata Della Memoria Discorsoure

Ciao Amici,

     I am truly honored to   have been chosen to be the speaker at the Memorial Day Services in Roseto at the Borough Municipal Plaza on Garibaldi Avenue for the community services at the war monuments, beginning at 10:45 a.m. I know many will not be able to attend so I am sending it to you.

      Clergy, members of the Roseto Legion, and friends; when Georgene Fry called me and ask me to speak at the Memorial Day Services, I thought to myself why should I do this, then she said that her husband  Bill, before he passed away  was going to ask me himself so then I thought this is an offer I cannot refuse.  Besides being a lifelong resident of the Roseto, I am also the 3rd generation running a family business, My Grandfather stressed to us that we would not have been able to have a business without the sacrifices made by our military.

      I recall as a student we would start our day with the Pledge of Allegiance and after the thirteen years of Catholic school, the pledge becomes tattooed in your heart and soul and never goes away, unfortunately these days some of our youth cannot lift their head from their phones to even notice a flag and what it stands for. Growing up with Italian Grandparents one thing you learn very quickly is respect, respect of family, God and Country.

      Memorial Day serves to preserve remembrance, a  holiday in the United States which commemorates the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.

     Memorial Day was a very special day while growing up in the Butcher Shop. I remember as a kid walking out of the butcher shop and watching my grandfather salute as the parade went down Garibaldi Avenue. My Grandfather Philip came to The United States when he was 14 years old. He loved America and later was drafted into the army at the young age of 20. He was in The 32nd Infantry Division, Battery Field Artillery. Just as they were boarding the boat in New York City on November 11, 1918 to depart for Europe, they received the news that the war had ended; an Armistice had been signed. With all the use of rifles, artillery, machine guns, aircraft ships, tanks, armored cars, grenades and mortars during WW1, my Grandfather was fortunate he did not go to battle. However his brother Michael, who was in the Calvary in Europe, was injured and also his brother-in-law Donato Diorio.  Grandpop went back to Italy after the war and married my Grandmother Teodora. He then ended up having to join The Italian Army as well and for some time until they realized he already had served in the United States Army.

    I remember when I was rather young how everyone from our small town of Roseto went to the cemetery on Memorial Day regardless if their family was in the military or not, they went to honor all our departed soldiers. I’m proud to say my Uncle Chubby was a Marine.  My sons- in- law Glenn Berdela, who is married to my daughter Julia, and Stephen Molcahy, who is married to my daughter Jasmine also are Marines. Glenn’s rank is Major. He’s been in the Marines for 10 years. He’s done 4 deployments. One combat deployment to Iraq. 2 MEU deployments. Those are the ones on the navy ship. And then he just got back from Crisis Response Africa Special Marine Corps Air Ground Task Force based in Marón Spain. Stephen was a captain in the Marine Corps. He was deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and he went on a MEU deployment where he was on a navy ship. And now he is in the reserves.

     In Roseto, three hundred men and women served in the armed services during the world conflicts. And of these ten made the ultimate sacrifice and gave their life so we could have our freedom. The American Legion in Roseto, Martocci –Capobianco Post 750 was organized in 1945. It Honors John Martocci who died in World War I and the Capobianco brothers, Carl & George who died in World War II. Imagine the mourning parents losing two sons. Here is the list of soldiers from Roseto who died during the World Wars I & II. Most of these last names you will recognize if you are from Roseto. 

WORLD WAR I

 Dante Lucchetti                                                                     John Martocci

WORLD WAR II

S/Sgt. Carl Capobianco     Pvt. George Capobianco     Pvt. Domenico Falcone

Cpl Mathew Menecola     Sgt. John Racciato-   T/5Albert Trigiani

Sgt. Philip L. Sabatine -   Pvt. Frank Tilli

We cannot take things for granted and with pride we say thank you to all our Military Personnel for your services for our country. God Bless America.

Grazie,
Joe and family



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: The Pizza / APIZZ

Ciao Amici,
When my friends would come over we would gather in the “base a ment” to play cards. It was not the high stakes card games that was being played down the street at the Marconi club but still competitive none the less. We played games such as Scope, Euchre, Pinochle and others. On certain nights when Grandmom was not too busy she would make pizza for us. For some reason or another as we played, we would get an appetite. One of the reasons Grandomom was put on this earth was to make people happy by providing them with good food and pizza was one of them. Grandmom would bake bread and often with the leftover dough make pizza. With the pizza dough being made from bread it gave the pizza a unique taste and texture. It was not be put on a fancy pizza stone but in an enamel pan that was brushed with olive oil. The modern term these days for a pizza like this is call Grandma Style pizza. Ours was authentic because it was made actually by an Italian grandmother. She made the regular Mozzarella, Pecorino sauce and oregano. She also made some with just fresh tomato or onions and anchovies. As we would be shuffling and dealing the cards, we’d suddenly lose our concentration with the aroma of Grandmom’s pizza! I always loved that look in her eyes, happy as could be, while bringing us her pizza. “Okay, vigh o’s, [boys)] now it is time to have “apizz” [the pizza]. We’d stop the game and enjoy “APIZZ”!

“When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie; that’s amore!”

Grazie,
Joe



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Surnames / Cognomi

Ciao Amici,
  As a youngster, I recall Grandmom talking to customers and sharing her worth of knowledge with them. One subject she shared was the origin of names. This is a list of some of her customers and the meaning. Please let me know of any other.

ALBANESI Originally indicated a person who came from ALBANIA. 
BASSO Originally a nickname for a short person, from Latin bassus "thick, low".
CAIAZZO From the name of a city near Naples, originally Caiatia in Latin, a derivative of the given name CAIUS
CAPOBIANCO Means Head of White 
CAPONEGRO Means Head of Black
DE PALMA Means "from the palm tree" in Italian.
DRAGO From a nickname meaning "dragon" in Italian. 
GAROFALO From a nickname, from a southern variant of the Italian word garofano meaning "carnation".
GENTILE From a nickname meaning "gentle, kind" in Italian. 
GRECO Means "from Greece" in Italian. 
MERLO Means "blackbird", ultimately from Latin merula. 
NICOLOSI From the name of the town Nicolosi on Sicily.
PAGANO From the old nickname pagano meaning "pagan" (earlier sense "rustic").
PALMISANO Locative surname from southern Italy. It is from the town of Palmi in the Calabria region. 
PELLEGRINO Means "little pilgrim" from Latin peregrinus.
PESCE Means "fisherman" or "fish-like" from Italian pesce meaning "fish".
RICCI From Italian ricco "curly", a nickname for someone with curly hair. 
ROMANO (2) Denoted someone who was from the city of Rome. People surnamed Romano also originated from Rome in Provincia de Foggia on the east coast of Italy.
RUSSO Derived from a nickname for a red-haired person, from Italian rosso, Latin russus meaning "red".
TEDESCO From Italian tedesco meaning "German"

Grazie,
Joe



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Mother's Day/ Festa Della Mamma

Ciao Amici,

    As Mother’s Day approaches my feelings are sad as this will be the first year that my mother will not be with us. 
My daughter Jasmine sent me this card which I would like to share 

In Loving Memory of My Mother

If Roses Grow in Heaven

If roses grow in Heaven Lord 

Please pick a bunch for me

Place them in my Mother’s arms

And tell her they’re from me.

Tell her that I love and miss her

And when she turns to smile,

Place a kiss upon her cheek

And hold her for awhile

Because remembering her is easy,

I do it everyday.

But there is an ache within my heart

That will never go away.

It’s not somethin’ you get over

It’s somethin’ you get though

Willie Nelson & Buddy Cannon

Grazie,
Joe

Growing Up in the Butcher Shop  
Fables / Favola

Ciao Amici,

      I love to look back and recall those warm spring days when we sat on the porch after supper and Grandpop would tell us some of Aesop’s Fables. Here are two I remember that encourages family togetherness:

 

The Bundle of Sticks

 An old man on the point of death summoned his sons around him to give them some parting advice. He ordered his servants to bring in a faggot of sticks, and said to his eldest son: “Break it.” The son strained and strained, but with all his efforts was unable to break the Bundle. The other sons also tried, but none of them was successful. “Untie the faggots,” said the father, “and each of you take a stick.” When they had done so, he called out to them: “Now, break,” and each stick was easily broken. “You see my meaning,” said their father.

[The moral of the story; Union gives strength.]

 The Four Oxen and the Lion
 
A Lion used to prowl about a field in which Four Oxen used to
dwell.  Many a time he tried to attack them; but whenever he came
near they turned their tails to one another, so that whichever way
he approached them he was met by the horns of one of them.  At
last, however, they fell a-quarrelling among themselves, and each
went off to pasture alone in a separate corner of the field. Then
the Lion attacked them one by one and soon made an end of all
four.
[The moral of the story; United we stand, divided we fall.]
 

 Grazie,
Joe

Growing Up in the Butcher Shop  
Celery / Il Sedano

Ciao Amici,

     One of many vegetables that Grandmom grew and always had in the walk-in was celery. Apples walk away with most health accolades, and spinach leads the healthy veggie brigade. Compared to them, celery is somewhat unsung, but has many health benefits; Grandmom used celery in soups, salads and sautéed vegetables. Celery added flavor with out many calories. Celery reduces inflammation, the minerals in celery, especially magnesium, soothe the nervous system. It regulates the body’s alkaline balance, thus protecting you from problems caused by an overly acidic diet as with too tomato sauce. Celery does contain sodium, but it is not the same thing as table salt. The salt in celery is organic, natural and essential for your health. It cares for your eyes. One large stalk of celery delivers 5 percent of your daily need for Vitamin A, a group of nutrients that protects the eyes and prevents age-related degeneration of vision. Raw, whole celery reduces high blood pressure. Okay enough with the benefits. While we waited for the macaroni and sauce on Sundays to cook, Grandmom would place celery and a bowl of olive oil with salt and pepper to hold us off till everything was ready. The words for celery and olive oil are Pinzimonio which comes from pinzare, to pinch, and monio from matrimonio, marriage. Pinching and combining the two, the vegetable with the olive oil dip. She made it especially in summer; it was easy to prepare and refreshingly cool. Many people throw out the leaves not knowing how delicious they are in salads & soups. We all know The Buffalo wing was invented in 1964 at Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York by another famous Italian, Teresa Bellissimo. The wings are generally served hot, along with celery sticks and a blue cheese dressing dipping.

 

Il sedano è 95% acqua e 100% non Cioccolata

Celery is 95% water and 100% not Chocolate

Grazie,
Joe

Growing Up in the Butcher Shop  
Italian Food Quotes

Ciao Amici,

     Growing up in the butcher shop my grandparents believed that food solves anything. Around the dinner table we would talk and discuss about important problems or issues I hope these Italian Food Quotes will give you some insight as to the wisdom my grandparents had…

. A tavola non si invecchia [you don’t age while seated for a meal]

. L’appetito vien mangiando [the appetite comes while you’re eating]

. Anche l’occhio vuole la sua parte [the eyes want their part – in the sense that something has to be pleasing to the eyes – apart from having other qualities]

. Mangia che ti passa [eat and it will be over, you’ll feel better]

. Bevici su – I bar non porta i ricordi. Sono i ricordi che portano al bar [drink in – the bar doesn’t bring memories. The memories bring you to the bar]

. Paese che vai, usanza che trovi [different places you visit, different customs you’ll find]

. Anni e bicchieri di vino non si contano mai [age and glasses of wine should never be counted]

. L’uomo è ciò che mangia [a man is what he eats], Ludwig Feuerbach. Even if it comes from a German philosopher and anthropologist, it is one of the most popular food quotes used in Italy

. Chi conserva quando ha, mangia quando vuole [who preserves when and has abundance, eats when desires to]

. Chi lavora mangia, Chi non lavora mangia, beve e dorme  [who works, eat. Who doesn’t work, eat, drink and sleep]

. Poesia non era mai stata scritta da un bevitore di acqua. [no poem was ever written by a drinker of water]
 

Grazie,
Joe

Growing Up in the Butcher Shop  
Being Single-Minded

Ciao Amici,

My Grandparents like many of there generation were ones that stood for something worthwhile, and in doing so had some people for them and some against them . In this day an age many people stand for nothing, they have no one against them, but neither will they have anyone for them. My Grandparents  believed in there religion and nationality If they were  in today's society there would be  tremendous pressure on them to be open-minded and politically correct. That is, to accept just about every belief except for Christianity—and for what Christians stand for. To agree with the latter means to be identified as narrow-minded, rigid and fanatical. What many don't realize is that if you stand for nothing, you can fall for anything. Or as E. Stanley Jones put it, "The difference between a swamp and a river is that a river has banks, and a swamp has none—it spreads over everything. My grandparents  were  rivers: they knew where they wanted to go, and they confined themselves to the banks that lead to that goal. But in this day & age some people are swamps: they spread over everything; their minds are so open they cannot hold a conviction." I was fortunate to be raised as  a "river for God" and know where I stand and where I'm headed and be labeled narrow-minded than be a swamp for "anything goes" and be politically correct and popular with the crowd.


"Un uomo esitante è instabile in tutte le sue vie."1
"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways."1


James 1:8.

Grazie,
Joe

Growing Up in the Butcher Shop  
Spring / Primavera

Ciao Amici,

     Sundays without macaroni? Only on Easter Sunday. In my grandparent’s day they also celebrated Pasquetta [Little Easter]; which was spent with family and friends on Easter Monday. They enjoyed cooking Alfresco; everyone would go to the country side for a picnic. Huge pots were put on top of the fire and the pasta was cooked outside. Even though they ate outdoors, the tables were still full of a variety of mouth-watering foods. They enjoyed relaxing after dinner in the warm spring sun and seeing the new growth on the trees, and plants and flowers return to life after winter. This reflects a tradition as old as life itself – eating outdoors and welcome to spring!

     Grandmom and Grandpop would be busy with their seeds in the basement and getting ready for the garden that would hold all the vegetables and herbs needed to feed the family. My Grandparents were waste not want not. They had a compost heap for their garden. Everything was cooked from scratch. By cutting our own chickens, the back bones and trimmings became homemade chicken stock for the Tagulini Soup. Leftover bread was mixed with potatoes, onions, celery, cabbage or broccoli rabe and garlic and olive oil to make Panna cotta or Ghombotta. These wonderful hearty dinners filled you up and stuck to your ribs. My Mom told me how her parents in Italy, Guiseppe and Clemintina DaVanzo saved the coffee grounds from their hotel and gave them to people who couldn’t afford to buy coffee. Things had more value during the depression.


It has been wonderful to have received so many positive responses and encouragement from our readers, please continue to do so.

Se mangia vegetali verdi regolare per almeno 90 anni che non mai morrà giovane/

If you eat green vegetables regular for at least 90 years you will never die young

Grazie,
Joe

Growing Up in the Butcher Shop  
Easter / Pasqua

Ciao Amici, 

     A popular Italian proverb,“ Natale con i tuoi, Pasqua chi Vuoi,” [Christmas with your relatives, Easter with whomever], did not really apply to the Rosetans; it was more like Christmas with family and Easter with family. Growing up in the Butcher Shop, Easter was the the most important festivity after Christmas. Easter is important to Italian Americans because of  the historical and cultural importance of the Catholic Church and   while Christmas is Jesus‘s birth, Easter is his passion,death and resurrection.

     There are certain foods that are symbolic of The Feast of  Easter. Growing up in  Roseto at the time when I was young you would not find any Italian speaking Easter Bunny or any Easter Bunny at all. All through out this holiday season, eggs played a role  in the Easter  Dinner. My mom would make the Easter bread with the whole eggs coloured red, placed on the bread and then baked. It was traditional in RosetoValfatore and all over Italy to use the color red to symbolize the blood of Christ. Bread was also made as a symbol of Jesus who is called the bread of life.

     We would have hard boiled eggs in the antipasto, then there were eggs in the  Spezzatta soup that when beaten along with the pecorino would thicken the rich lamb broth made with the neck bones of the lamb. Lamb is a staple of an Italian Easter Dinner. Back in the day the entire lamb [agnello] or goat  [capretto] was roasted. Lamb represented the innocent sacrifice of  Jesus on the cross. This was a busy time for my Grandparent’s shop as they would provide many of their customers  with the lamb or veal for their Easter dinner. In those days the entire lamb was utilized from the roasted Capozzelli di Angnelo, Sorfrito, Sangredoro and Tochinatta. The Old Timers will remember these names and although the aromas, taste and sights will never be the same they will live in our hearts forever .

 

Pasqua lo dice può mettere verità in una tomba, ma non starà là.

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there.   Clarence W. Hall

Buona Pasqua,
Joe  




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Palm Sunday/ Domenica delle Palme

Ciao Amici,    

      In Italy, palm leaves are used along with small olive branches, readily available in the Mediterranean climate. These are placed at the entrance of houses hanging above the door and remain until the following year's Palm Sunday. Due to their size, leaves are braided into smaller shapes. Small olive branches are also often used to decorate traditional Easter cakes, along with other symbols of birth, like eggs. On Palm Sunday Jesus entered the Holy City of Jerusalem surrounded by a crowd of followers. The palms disbursed by many churches signify the branches that were placed on the road as Jesus approached.

      As a young child I looked forward to Palm Sunday because I knew Easter and spring was on the way. Upon awakening on Palm Sunday, I would smell the meatballs, sausage, beef bracioli, lamb shanks and pork ribs all being fried in lard while I was getting ready to go serve Mass. Grandmom always had some meatballs put aside that were not put in gravy meant for me for after Mass; just to hold me over until dinner was served. Next to the cast iron frying pan that they were frying the meat in was a pot of simmering crushed tomatoes which had garlic, onions, parley and basil in it. As the meat was fried it was put in the tomato sauce to become our Sunday gravy.  On the smaller kitchen table was the pasta board where Grandmom and Mom made the fresh palms. This shaped pasta is similar to the dry pasta Malfalda which is ribbon-shaped, flat and wide about ¾ of an inch with wavy edges on both sides.  There was not much room on the stove top upstairs so we would have to use the stove in the “bas- a- ment.” When the water came to a boil the “palms” were thrown into the salted water. Fresh pasta only takes minutes to cook so in no time we would be at the family table sitting and eating. After espresso, Grandpop would prepare his purchasing list for the week because Easter was coming and lambs and calves would need to be obtained to help the community prepare their Easter Dinner. It is even much the same for me now as I check product and inventory for my customers Easter Dinner.

La vita è piena di alti e bassi. Gloria a Dio durante l' di alti e piena fiducia in Lui durante le vicissitudini.

Palm Sunday's Thought;  Life is full of ups and downs. Glorify God during the ups and fully trust in Him during the downs.

Con cordiali saluti,   
Joe 




Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Corned Beef & Cabbage
Manzo Sottaceto & Cavolo

Ciao Amici,
With St. Patrick’s Day upon us thoughts arise to celebrate with the Irish by enjoying a corned beef & cabbage dinner. Originally “Corned Beef and Cabbage “was a traditional dish served for Easter Sunday in rural Ireland. The beef which was salted or brined during winter to preserve it could then be eaten after the 40days of meatless Lenten fast with spring cabbage. Corning is a term used for curing that has nothing to do with corn. The name comes from times before refrigeration, that back in the day, the meat was dry cured in course “corns” of salt. Pellets, the size of corn kernels of which was rubbed into the beef to keep it from spoiling and to preserve it. Today the use of a brine of salt water has replaced the dry cure but the word corned is still used instead of pickled or brined beef. Commonly used spices are bay leaf and peppercorns, however the spices vary regionally. In Ireland although popular with a lot of the older folk the younger Lads and Lassies seemed to like it less. This is likely because of changes in diets. Yet the Irish immigrants that fled the famine stricken homeland during the heyday of corned beef the dish remained important. I sense what happens is when people immigrate, life stands still and the memories of their country, and of the traditions stay as it was when they left.
How did corned beef become the classic Irish- American Food? Typically the Irish immigrants enjoyed their bacon and since they couldn’t find or afford it, one theory is that they swapped it for corned beef brisket, which was always available at Jewish Delis.
We, too, the Italian-Americans gather at the table on St. Patrick’s Day and take pleasure in that delicious meal. Dad always had a smile on his face when the Irish coffee was served. “Top ‘O the Mornin to Ya.”
.
“E nessuna ebollizione dell'uso il Suo cavolo due volte”
“It's no use boiling your cabbage twice”




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Escarole / La scarola

Ciao Amici,    
      One vegetable I would help Grandmom work with was escarole or as we call scarola. I was surprised when I got older that scarola was Italian for escarole. I thought it was a slang word but in all actuality scarola is the Italian translation of escarole. As she filled the extra deep porcelain sink with water she would trim the root end and put them into the cold water up and down she would the lift them up in a certain way to leave the soil behind then unto the other sink until there was no dirt left in the sink and the greens were clean . She would then get me to help separate the tender inner leaves for Insalata (salad). The rest she would blanch and then place on ice to stop the cooking and retain the color and vitamins. Then it go into all kinds of recipes which I will write about. First the tender leaves which have such a fresh crunch in the insalata . Just some tomatoes, cucumbers and onions. Dressing was just Extra virgin Olive oil , Red wine vinegar salt & pepper. I say just but it was not just , it was the finest Olive oil and there own home made vinegar, sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. There was something about at the end of a meal to dip that good bread into that last dollop of oil and vinegar that refreshed the palate. It seems like the red wine vinegar today is not as flavorful .  Another dish they made was the Scarole Minestra .  This was such a healthy soup, She would start with sauté garlic , onions ,and celery in Olive oil then adding the blanched scarole , Red Kidney Beans and her homemade chicken stock . As we played in the alley the aroma would permeate the wind and we could not wait for the call to come home . Then after she ladled the minestra into the bowl she would Shave aged provolone on top , as it melted and with a hunk of Matt’s bread it was the Rosetan version of french onion soup . The last Recipe I would like to talk about is escarole oreganta . This was a staple in our house . She would start with the large earthenware  casserole made in Italy of course .she would then sauté garlic and onions in olive oil  add a small amount of ground beef . once cooled she would start the process. Olive oil , scarole , garlic, onions , fresh bread crumb  grated cheese , to almost the top , Then she would beat the heck out of fresh eggs and more grated cheese , pour into the casserole until it was at the top . This is another dish that no matter where you where in the house you just new this is it this what we are having for supper “scarole Oreganata” .As it came out the oven and put on the rack to cool , when she took the lid off the eggs had cooked  like a soufflé . Oh what enjoyment ! This was there manta , simple food , minimal  of the best ingredients  and superior cooking methods.

Per la vostra salute  To your Health

Con cordiali saluti,
Joe 





Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Braciole

Ciao Amici,    
     Growing up in the butcher shop watching Grandmom make braciole was like watching an artist at work. What is Braciole? Braciole in Italy is called involtini it can be thin slices of beef, pork, or veal rolled with a filling of grated cheese usually Pecorino Romano, fresh bread crumb, olive oil, fresh garlic, fresh parsley and sometimes egg to give consistency.  Each Braciola or "little bundles" is held together by a wooden toothpick or tied with string and the dish is usually served as a second course. In Roseto, braciole was cooked along with meatballs, Italian sausage and other meats as in a Neapolitan ragù or tomato sauce, which some Siclians in town called it sarsa or succu.  It came to be known as 'Sunday Gravy' in the northeastern United States. It was first fried back in the day in lard no olive olio then cooked in tomato sauce, the sauce itself was used to toss the pasta for the first course, giving a consistent taste to the meal. Now that I explained the braciola, I will get back to Grandmom. She would start in the butcher shop behind the large butcher block, place the meat down on it and with the sharpest knife and slice the meat then place on the wax paper and with the flat side of the cleaver  pound it…  boom boom boom would be heard throughout the butcher shop. Then I would be sent into the kitchen to help get the ingredients.  “Andare in giardino e ottenere il prezzemolo, sul vostro modo di ottenere l'aglio e le conserve di pomodoro nella fredda cantina .riceverò il formaggio ,l'olio d'oliva e pangrattato.” [“Go in the garden and get the parsley, on your way up get the garlic and canned tomatoes in the cold cellar. I will get the cheese, olive oil and breadcrumbs”].  Even with her hands all jagged from years of hard work, she would fill the meat and tie it with string, into the pot with lard, onions, garlic, meatballs, sausage, lamb shank, veal spare rib and other meat depending on the mood. Then she added the paste, red wine, tomatoes, parsley and basil with it simmering all morning long. The aroma meant it was Sunday. After the first course of macaroni, we then had the gravy meat. There seems that there was always enough that every one could have a braciola.  As we looked at my Dad as he ate the braciola we thought something was wrong.  “What’s wrong Dad,” we asked? His response, “Your Grandmom made the braciole so good it made me cry!” That made us all laugh as the salad was served.

Con cordiali saluti,
Joe





Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Olympics / Olimpiadi

Ciao Amici,    

As the Winter Olympics take place I am reminded of watching them when I was young growing up in the butcher shop. With My mom and grandparents born in Italy along with rooting for the USA we also rooted for Italy. This issue did not make us unpatriotic only loyal to two teams.  There were no trips to the ski slopes or ski lessons

My parents would look at me and say , “What are you doing inside go out and play Snow, Sleet, freezing rain   I always enjoyed watching sports but I enjoyed more playing outside in the winter   No matter what the conditions we played outside and saved the TV watching for at night. The alley behind the butcher shop started at the top where the Boy Scouts had there meetings and wrapped around by Perfect Shirt on to Roseto Ave. Some days the alley would be a sheet of ice and perfect for sledding .We would run and then Jump on our sleds head first and slide on down to the finish line . Pick up our sleds and then walkup back to the top and do it again, and again .We never seemed to get tired it was our version of what they call skeleton now. One race you do not see at the Olympics was this game we played .Sometimes we would battle it out by pushing the sled down and someone would jump on your back we would be going down side by side and whoever had the right angle would jump on the other sled and knock them off there sled. It is a wonder no one got hurt.  Then the time would come when someone’s mom would call to go home and get ready for supper. You did not realize how  cold you were until you came into the warm house , As we would come into the house and take layer upon layer off take a hot shower and sit-down to warm bowl of pasta fazool and bread . Then to rest and watch the Olympics. This week I watched them with my grandchildren and taught them to chant USA ,USA , USA  which they knew but wait don’t forget Italia ,Italia , Italia and we enjoyed the different events and the stories the about athletics .

Con cordiali saluti,
Joe 




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Italian Carnevale

Ciao Amici,
A Carnevale Ogni Scherzo vale –anything goes at carnevale. This year the celebration of Carnivale is on Tuesday February 13th. In Italy the Carnivale is celebrated with parades, a masquerade ball, entertainment, music and parties. Growing up in the butcher shop we celebrated with a dinner of antipasto, some of the savory “cavazoon” made with dry sausage, provolone and ricotta. Next we would have homemade Chic a dade [cavatelli], gravy meat, roasted chicken and potatoes and a salad. We end the meal with espresso coffee and the sweet ricotta cavazoons. This is considered the final party before Easter which is forty days away.
Another name for this day is Matedi Grasso [Fat Tuesday]. People tend to partake in excess because they will abstain during lent. Sweets or other delicacies are put on hold for seven weeks after Tuesday. When I was growing up we did not eat meat on any Friday but now Catholics only abstain during lent. So why do Catholics abstain from eating meat on Fridays during Lent? People offer several reasons for why the church embraces this discipline, a tradition that dates back hundreds of years. Some say it was because the church was trying to support the fishing industry when times were tough. The church was trying to keep fishermen 'afloat'. There is some historical evidence of that, dating all the way back to the second century. Grandpop would say the Pope’s brother was a fisherman. Fish is an inexpensive, humble food that you had to catch yourself. Some say that not eating meat helped folks to focus on the humility of Christ, who lived a simple man's life.
There are literally dozens of other examples for this evolution over the years and the Church's maintenance of it. They are good to know, but they didn't help me a lot when I was young child. My Mom doesn’t eat fish so my brothers and I had to acquire a taste for fish. As a small child if your Mom did not like a certain food you did not either and when fish was made, Mom would make a face as if something was wrong. So we had the pasta agio olio, or with beans or ceci beans, different meat less pizza like with potatoes or plain with just tomatoes. Eggs where also used as in peas and eggs, mozzarella in carrozza or purgatory [poached in tomato sauce].

Nothing, how little so ever it be, if it is suffered for God's sake, can pass without merit in the sight of God."
~Thomas a Kempis
Con cordiali saluti,
Joe





Growing up in the Butcher Shop
When Things Go Wrong, Don't Quit

Ciao Amici,  

     For my friends out there; Sometimes we get discouraged especialy when your own hurt you. Don’t give up

When Things Go Wrong, Don't Quit

When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
when the road you're trudging seems all up hill,
when the funds are low and the debts are high,
and you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
So don't give up, though the pace seems slow–
For you may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
it seems to a fain and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor's cup.
And he learned too late when the night
slipped down,
how close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure, turned inside out,
the silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are,
it may be near when it seems afar;
so stick to the fight when you're hardest hit,
it’s when things seem worst that you
mustn't quit.11.   By Edgar A. Guest

Best Regards / Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Rest a While / Il resto del tempo

Ciao Amici, 

     It would be hard to find anyone who worked harder then Grandmom & Grandpop did. I believe as they got older and became grandparents they found more time to spend with me than when my Dad was growing up. It felt so special in those days like sitting on the bench in front of the butcher shop as Grandpop told us stories, playing Scope under the porch, watching them cook, or when they would read to me; it all meant so much. So many of us today, including me, are bogged down with being too busy. When you own your own business much of life seems to be controlled by the tyranny of the urgent—unforeseen crisis or needs that daily pop up unexpectedly—all of  which are a vivid reminder that I, too, need to "come apart and rest a while—before I come apart," as this fable demonstrates… According to a Greek legend, in ancient Athens a man noticed the great storyteller Aesop playing childish games with some little boys. He laughed and jeered at Aesop, asking him why he wasted his time in such frivolous activity." Aesop responded by picking up a bow, loosening its string, and placing it on the ground. Then he said to the critical Athenian, 'Now, answer the riddle, if you can. Tell us what the unstrung bows imply.' The man looked at it for several moments but had no idea what point Aesop was trying to make. Aesop explained, 'If you keep a bow always bent, it will break eventually; but if you let it go slack, it will be more fit for use when you want it." There are times when we, too, need to loosen the bow.

Prendere il resto; un campo che ha appoggiato dà un abbondante raccolto

Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop

Best Regards / Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe




Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Spaghetti Numbers / Numeri di Spaghetti  

Ciao Amici,

     One of the ways my grandparents made me help them while I was growing up in the butcher shop was to stock the shelves with all the different types of macaroni.  As I would stock the shelf not only did I see the different names and shapes but also the numbers. Grandmon was quick to explain that numbers are cut numbers and each company uses their own product number, but as far as spaghetti the higher the number the thicker the spaghetti is. Grandmom said, “ Puoi vedere Josie spaghetti numero nove è più spessa quindi Spaghettini #3 or Capellini #1” [“You see Josie, Spaghetti number nine is thicker then Spaghettini #3  or Capellini #1]. Then she took the poster from Ronzoni out to show me all the different shapes, the dark blue background and the unmistakable amber yellow color of the macaroni of the poster as a young child it was like seeing the Holy Grail. Some say the reason for the numbers was that in the "old days" there were waves of immigrants that came in to work in the factories. There were the Irish, the Germans, the Italians and numerous other ethnic groups. Other than the Italians, none of these other groups really spoke the language, and were much less able to pronounce or discern or know the difference between "spaghetti or spaghettini". So, before the days of automated computers, the factory managers had to get everyone straight, so it was much easier to say "today, we are making #9". But this may have its doubts because the factories in Italy also use numbers and they knew the language. My grandparents would be concerned if customers purchased the wrong pasta with sauce they were making and would ask them. For example, meaty stuff such as ragu', or bolognese, are matched with penne, rigatoni and ziti. Twist shaped like fusilli and gemelli pair well with pesto. Sauces like, agio olio [cappelini], puttanesca [linquine], amatriciana, [bucatini], carbonara [fettuccini] and so on, while vegetable sauces like broccoli pair with cavatelli, cabbage  matched well bavette, and so on. To sum up, there is no simple rule, although instinctively, when customers told Grandmom what sauce they were using she could tell them which macaroni was appropriate and which one is not.

Thinking about spaghetti that boils eternally but is never done is a sad, sad thing.”

― Haruki Murakami, Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

Best Regards / Con Cordiali Saluti
Joe




Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
The Ship of Friendship / La Nave di Amicizia    

Ciao Amici,

       Grandpop & Grandmom loved telling stories after dinner as they sipped their espresso. No television, iPhones or computers just them looking at you and changing their voice and their facial mannerisms to go along with the stories they told. Hope you enjoy.A voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island.  The two survivors who have been good friends, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island. The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man’s parcel of land remained barren.  After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing. Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing.  Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings since none of his prayers had been answered. As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard a voice from heaven booming, “Why are you leaving your companion on the island?” “My blessings are mine alone since I was the one who prayed for them,” the first man answered. “His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything.” You are mistaken!” the voice rebuked him. “He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings.” Tell me,” the first man asked the voice, “What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?”  He prayed that all your prayers be answered”

Moral: For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of another praying for us (Congregational Prayer). Value your friends; don’t leave your loved ones behind.

Best Regards / Con Cordiali Saluti
Joe 

 




Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Cured Meats / Salumi 
                                                                          

Ciao Amici,

     This time of year brings back memories of Grandpop curing meat. For the most part Grandpop’s curing was made with pork whose origins were born of a need to conserve meat for months after the slaughter of the animal. Before refrigeration, salting, smoking, and air-drying are the three processes by which fresh meat is transformed into a long-keeping staple. Grandpop only smoked ring bologna and bacon. He made an amazing array of cured meats. In Roseto Italy they have been curing meats for thousands of years using both noble and humble parts of the animals they raise. The Rosetans prized the spicy pork sausages they crafted. And, fond of intensely tasty foods, they salted whole pig legs, yielding savory Prosciutto not unlike those still made in mountain villages across Italy. Italian salumi [cured meat]fall under two categories: those obtained from a whole cut of meat, such as a boneless thigh or shoulder [Prosciutto, Pancetta, Coppa, Culatello, and more]; and those obtained from minced, ground, or chopped meat that is stuffed into casings, known as insaccati in Italian [salami, sausages, Soppressatta and more]. Salumi can range in size from tiny to imposing; they can be delicate or fiercely hot; they can be spreadable or hard; they may be best eaten raw, with a chunk of bread, or like pancetta [unsmoked bacon] be meant for cooking. Families in Roseto were very particular and had their own recipes that Grandpop would make for them. Salumi formed an integral part of my grandparents kitchen and when friends would come to visit along with the many cheeses they had all their homemade salumi would be brought to the table always served with bread, And while most cured meats arrive at the table unadorned, they would have olive oil, pepper, and perhaps a drizzle of red wine vinegar. The end pieces of the cured meats [they never wasted a thing] would be put into numerous recipes to add flavor and depth; this is especially true for savory pies, pasta sauces, and long-simmered soups and stews.

“Se il melone è scomparso dal pianeta qualcuno dovrebbe anche notato? Ci sarebbe solo continuare a mangiare il prosciutto come Dio destinato a noi."

“If honeydew melons disappeared from the planet, would anyone even notice? We would just continue to eat prosciutto like God intended us to.”
― Jim Gaffigan


Best Regards / Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe






Growing up in the Butcher Shop
New Year’s Eve Spaghetti at Midnight/ Spaghetti della Vigilia Degli Anni Nuovo a Mezzanotte

Ciao Amici,                            

     As each year comes to an end, I am reminded of the time I asked Grandmom what she and Grandpop did for New Year’s Eve back in the day. She said Roseto was famous for their “Spaghetti Tradition at Midnight.”  Ladies and gentlemen would all go to their social club in the early evening on New Year’s Eve. They would play cards, drink and have their Antipasto. Everyone took pleasure in the olives, roasted peppers, all the good homemade Capicola, Prosciutto, fresh Mozzarella, aged Casa Cavola cheese and of course, as always, good bread along with the home made wine.

    Around 10 pm the ladies would leave and go home to make their homemade spaghetti for the rest of the evening’s festivities. The men remained at the club to warm the Sunday gravy (gravy because the red sauce contained meatballs, sausage, pork ribs, beef braciole). Then they got the large pots of boiling water ready for the ladies who would return around 11:30 pm with their homemade Spaghetti. Their expression was, “throw the spaghetti” which meant to put it in the boiling water. This was done at four minutes before midnight because homemade pasta does not take long to cook. 


    The count down began; 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 SPAGHETTI! The spaghetti was drained at the stroke of midnight and everyone would start their New Year with a bowl of spaghetti. This tradition was supposed to bring them luck in the New Year. You are always lucky when you can have homemade spaghetti!

We wish all our readers a “Buon Capo Anno” (Happy New Year). Thank you for all your wonderful comments on my memoirs, when I was Growing Up in the Butcher Shop.

Maggio tutte Sue tribolazioni scorso tanto lungo quanto le decisioni di Sue Anno Nuovo.
May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's Resolutions.

~Joey Adams


Cordiali Saluti,
Joe






Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Scrapple

Ciao Amici,       

     One food item the Italian butchers from Pennsylvania learned to make that was not found in Italy was scrapple. The Pennsylvania Dutch use the name Pannhaas or "pan rabbit". The first recipes were created by German colonists who settled near Philadelphia and Chester County, Pennsylvania in the 17th and 18th centuries. This is why Scrapple is best known in the Mid-Atlantic states of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. Scrapple is traditionally made with a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour [which Grandpop used and spices].  The mush is formed into a semi-solid congealed loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then pan-fried before serving. Some cooks like to flour the slice of scrapple and then fry it to make the crispy outside and then you bite to find the soft center. The scraps of meat left over from butchering, not used or sold elsewhere, were made into scrapple to avoid waste. The Italian butchers like Grandpop embraced the idea of not wasting product.  I remember the big black cauldron in the slaughter house with the burning logs underneath as Grandpop would add the  head, heart, liver, and other trimmings, which then boiled with any bones attached [often the entire head], to make a broth. Once cooked, bones and fat are removed, the meat is reserved, and [dry] cornmeal and buckwheat is boiled in the broth to make a mush. The meat, finely minced, is returned to the pot and seasonings, typically sage, thyme, savory, black pepper, and others are added. Then I would watch Grandpop pour the warm mush into metal pans and that formed into loaves which were allowed to cool thoroughly until set. Like a chef each butcher uses their own proportions and seasoning which are very much a matter of the region and the cook's taste. Scrapple is usually eaten as a breakfast side. I would watch Grandmom cut the scrapple thick about three-quarter-inch slices flour and pan-fried in lard until brown to form a crust. After removing the scrapple, Grandmom would fry the eggs sunny side up or over easy. Sometimes people fry it in butter or oil and are sometimes deep-fried. Scrapple can also be broiled; this is a good cooking method for those who like their scrapple crisp. We would have ours with ketchup but we know people who like it served plain or with either sweet or savory condiments like apple butter, jelly, maple syrup, honey, or mustard. No Waste! Scrapple was created as a way to use all the meat from the pig. So it is both delicious and practical; crispy outside soft and warm inside. “Come on Joelene, we’re having scrapple tomorrow.”

Best Regards/ Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe and Joelene





Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
We Never Took A Knee/
Non Abbiamo Mai Preso Un Ginocchio

Ciao Amici,
I recently read this letter to the editor in the Italian Tribune November 30, 2017 issue it is by William P. Deni, Sr. Fleminton, N.J. I thought I would pass it along because to me it makes a lot of sense:

I wrote this letter to place into perspective something that is sadly lacking in today’s
society. Something that was instilled in us from a young age. We call them values
WE NEVER TOOK A KNEE…

We came to America, where they laughed and mocked us, because we could not speak
English WE NEVER TOOK A KNEE…

We worked long hours in a sweatshop, factories, construction, we were called names and
harassed WE NEVER TOOK A KNEE…

We attended church every Sunday, but some churches we could only worship in the
basement WE NEVER TOOK A KNEE…

We sent our children to school and they were scolded for not speaking English at home
WE NEVER TOOK A KNEE…

We were poor but proud and never asked for or received public help from strangers
WE NEVER TOOK A KNEE…

We were told to change our names if we wished to apply for certain jobs or don’t bother
to apply WE NEVER TOOK A KNEE…

When our children were told they could not date their children and stay away from their
families WE NEVER TOOK A KNEE…

They wrote books and made movies about us, that we were all criminals
WE NEVER TOOK A KNEE…

We fought in America’s Wars and some of us never made it home
WE NEVER TOOK A KNEE…

Today we are among America’s leading doctors, lawyers, educators, business leaders and skilled laborers
WE NEVER TOOK A KNEE…

Our struggles led us to achieving the American Dream. We are Americans of Italian Descent, we love our country and we stand proudly at the playing of our National Anthem

Best Regards/ Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe




Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Thanksgiving /  Ringraziamento

Ciao Amici,     

      This article was first published November 11 2009. Il tempo vola [time flies].

     My Thanksgiving Day memories that I treasured growing up in the butcher shop was waking up early to the smell of turkey cooking through out the house.

Thanksgiving always takes me back to my childhood and the comfort of that meal. My Grandparents embraced the holiday as if it was their own. They were thankful to be Italian Americans living in the land of the free and home of the brave.  I remember as a youngster going up to the farm; where my shop is now, and Grandpop, my Dad and I would tap the wine and bottle it. Grandpop would have the radio on and we would listen to the Bangor & Pen Argyl football game. Meanwhile at home; Grandmom, Mom and Aunt Theresa would be preparing the Thanksgiving Dinner. It was the traditional dinner with the candied yams, mashed potatoes, corn, peas, cranberry sauce, soft rolls and the turkey. Sometime they would also make a capon in case someone did not like turkey. Watching Grandpop carve the turkey was amazing. The knives were sharp as a razor and the turkey was cut with the precision only an experienced butcher could do.  After my Grandfather passed away my Dad continued the tradition and then it was passed on to me. I’ve heard that some families make antipasto, lasagna and meatballs. However, my family served only the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner.

     In the older days, Thanksgiving was also a time when everyone in Roseto would butcher their pigs. With the cold weather coming along, the meat could be salted and hung to make the capicola, prosciutto, guanciale and pancetta. The pork meat was also ground to make the sausage. Some was left to dry and some was cooked and canned; then turned upside down so the lard would help seal the sausage. This also had another use because once the can was opened the lard was used to fry the peppers & onions.

      At the end of the meal the homemade pies were put out for all to enjoy. There was apple, cherry, pumpkin, mince, blueberry and ricotta. All made with the pie crust that contained lard. Thanksgiving is a special time to give thanks for all we have.  Thank you to all who read my articles and tell me how much you are enjoying them. Also I am thankful to have grown up with family and friends at a time when people truly cared about each other. From our home, to your home, have a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

Tuttoilmondoe’paese- Everything is the same the world over

Le luci del sole dappertutto- The sun shines everywhere

Grazie/Thank you,

Best Regards/Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe and Joelene

 



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
My Speech Bangor Library

Ciao Amici,

     Thank you to the friends of the Bangor Library. It is my pleasure to be here.  I am a little more comfortable behind a sauté pan than I am in front of a group of people, so bear with me. The book is an acumination of events of my life. Many of the ideas come from before I was twelve years old.  In March of 2008 I was researching some ideas to promote our business, and thought that writing an article in the local paper would be a good idea.  I decided that I wanted to share my stories growing up in an Italian family that also owned and operated a business in our home. So we approached Candy Martin who, at that time, was working for the Blue Valley Times. She agreed.  After years of writing these articles, my wife suggested putting some of the more meaningful ones in a book form.  People ask how I can come up with ideas for the article every week. There are many reasons, writing has its own rewards but the most prominent one is when you write you can relive that part of your life again. Recalling  all the happy times with my family especially the times I spent with my grandparents, the family dinners that we shared every night and the macaroni and gravy meat on Sundays to name a few. The stories of my grandparents as immigrants with the hardship and prejudice they suffered is like being described from a quote Emily Dickenson wrote, “A wounded deer leaps the highest,” and leap they did.  Everyone has an event in their life that has an impact on them, mine occurred on March 29th 1969, the day my grandfather died. Tears are words that need to be written for everyone has had them. A lot of my readers tell me they can relate to my stories even if they are not Italian or went to catholic school and they are not from Roseto. Many, as I did, worked in the blouse mills and their demise was my motivation to go onto catering. My generation were brought up in the sixties before all the electronics took over. Growing up with a store attached to your house is also contusive to having stories to tell. The cast of characters that would come in to shop every week also became extended family to us, and my grandmother with her smile was friends to all of them. My grandparents and parents were all great story tellers. Back in Roseto Valfortore, Italy, storytelling was their form of entertainment and was past down from generation to generation. One story my grandfather instilled upon me I think about a lot was his approach to raising children but can be applied to life in general; it is about the horse and carriage. If you hold the reins on a horse too tight you are going to go nowhere and if you let go of them completely your carriage will crash, therefore you have to give and take and your ride will be smooth. Without the help and encouragement of my wife Joelene none of this would have been possible. In closing my wife has suggested I work on a new book which will have a new twist. Joelene may not be Italian but when she makes me an offer I cannot refuse. So look for it in the future.

 


Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
You Knew You Grew Up In The Little Town of Roseto If…

 Ciao Amici, 

If you can answer yes to all of these, then you grew up Italian in Roseto…

1. You have at least one relative who wore a black dress every day for an entire year after a funeral 
2.  You spent your entire childhood thinking what you ate for lunch was pronounced "sangwich." 
3.  Your family dog understood Italian.
4.  Every Sunday afternoon of your childhood was spent visiting your grandparents and extended   family. 
5.  You've experienced the phenomena of 150 people fitting into 50 square feet of yard during a family cookout. 
6.  You were surprised to discover the FDA recommends you eat three meals a day, not six. 
7.  You were as tall as your grandmother by the age of nine. 
8.  You thought everyone's last name ended in a vowel
9.  You were surprised to find out that wine and Grappa was actually sold in stores. 
10. You thought that everyone made their own tomato sauce and gravy. 
11. You never ate meat on Christmas Eve or any Friday for that matter. 
12. You ate your salad after the main course.
13. You thought Catholic was the only religion in the world.
14. You were beaten at least once with a wooden spoon or broom. 
15. You thought every meal had to be eaten with a hunk of bread in your hand 
16. You can understand Italian but you can't speak it. 
17. You have at least one relative who came over on the boat. 
18. You thought that talking loud was normal.   
19. You thought white Jordan Almonds and the Tarantella were common at all weddings.
20. You thought everyone got pinched on the cheeks and money stuffed in their pockets by their relatives.  
21. There was a crucifix in the house. 
22. You called pasta "macaroni

 E-mail me at portipasto@epix.net to share your “Growing up in Roseto”

Ciao & Grazie,
Joe  




Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Unique Rosetan Sayings

 Ciao Amici,

Growing up in the butcher shop I was able to learn many Italian sayings or descriptions. For some reason the words in Italian are phonetically beautiful. I am not sure of the spellings and some of these words do not exist in the Italian dictionary but were passed down from generation to generation. I will just write the word like I remember saying it.

“Sab brew nond” aka- A bag pipe player blow heart. Yes there are bagpipes in Roseto Italy, This name is suggested to be a person who is full of hot air and talks continually without saying anything.

“Mas en brogt” aka- A master of screw ups. Like the British actor Bean no matter what this person tries to do ends up a complete mess.

“Stra vo ten” aka- A person who is always teasing. A person who does not let up on teasing and poking fun at others until either the other person leaves or a fight ensues.

“Coah Chone” or "Testa Dura" aka- Hard headed person. A person that is set in their ways and will not take advice.

“Bugiardo” aka- Liar. A person whose words cannot not be taken at face value because they do not tell the truth.

“Mangia & Beve ” aka- A eats and drinks. A person who eats and drinks to an extreme and does nothing else.

“Vergognoso” aka- A disgraceful person. One who has total disregard of ethics and respect of their family.

“Shaw quet “aka- Floosey. A woman always on the go, never home & loves to party.

I’d be happy to hear from you if you have more to add.

Grazie,
Joe  




Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
These Days in Roseto

Ciao Amici,

I heard the song “These days” by Jackson Brown and decided to do an adaption of it-

Well I've been out walking
I don't do that much talking these days
These days I miss the Sunday Macaroni Dinners with the family

These days I seem to think a lot about
About the things that I do not see anymore like the widow in black who honors her husband or the sons who were named for their grandfathers

It's so hard not to see all the small businesses in Roseto these days
These days every one goes to the big box stores
Now if I seem to be afraid that the neighbors do not live the life in the Old Roseto way Well it's just that I've been living that way so long
Well they will keep on moving their are no jobs these days but
Things are bound to be improving these days
These days very few make wine and garden

These days everyone has no time.

Don't confront me that there are no Catholic schools, tailors, shoemakers, candy makers, barbers, hotels, pharmacies, Marconi Club and blouse mills
For I have not forgotten them

Grazie, Joe




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Spaghetti Then Meatballs

 Ciao Amici,

    One dish that typifies the Italian /American immigration experience is Spaghetti & Meatballs. When upon returning from vacationing in Italy; friends of mine were stunned to find that there where no spaghetti and meatballs there. Italy has their own version of meatballs; they’re called polpettes, and are smaller and primarily eaten without spaghetti. It is widely believed that spaghetti with meatballs was an innovation of early 20th-century Italian immigrants in New York City; the National Macaroni Manufacturers Association is said to be the first organization to publish a recipe for it, in the 1920s.  The majorities of immigrants were extremely impoverished, and had been spending 75 percent of their income on food in Italy, compared to only 25 percent in the United States. Meat quickly became a staple, and families were putting meatballs more frequently on the table. Then the last part of the trinity became the sauce. For cooks in America, “sailor sauce” dominated Italian-American cuisine because canned tomatoes were among the only items available at local grocers. The marinara sauce originates from Naples and comes from the Italian word “marinaro,” meaning sailor. Spaghetti also became greatly popular in the U.S. because it was one of the only Italian ingredients available. Meat became a meal staple in the United States instead of a rare (if at all) luxury that was the case in the impoverished southern Italy. The whole dynamic of food changed completely. As a result, the self-motivation of the family especially the role of women changed greatly. Women went from scraping to put food on the table to striving to be the best cook in the neighborhood. It was no longer about necessity but now what Nonna cooks what best. Grandmom and Grandpop’s butcher shop helped provide the meat for the Sunday Gravy. The way we would have this dish was to have the spaghetti first and then the meatballs and other “Gravy” meats as a separate course followed by a salad. Some customers would want the tri mix of veal, pork and beef. Back in the day the meatballs were fried in lard in a cast iron frying pan. Like my friend Diego would sing the song by Van Ronk Dave says "One meatball, one meatball, this here gent wants one meatball.”The little man felt ill at ease, Said, "Some bread, son, if you please." The waiter hollered down the hall" Ya gets no bread with one meatball!"

Grazie, Joe  




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Italian Heritage Month Continues

Ciao Amici,

Growing up in the butcher shop I often thought of how grand pop immigrated to the Untied States when he was just 15 years old . These days it hard to get a 15 year old to cross the street no less get on a ship and travel to a new world . Why did so many leave there country and come to America ? The late nineteenth century America was seen as the land of opportunity and New York City as the gateway. My great grandfather Martin died at a young age . My grandfathers brother Michael was the first to come over and then as he worked as a tailor at Brooks Brothers he sent for each of the other 7 siblings except for Pasquale who stayed in Italy. After the unification of the United States at the end of the civil war in 1865, through foreign eyes America began to emerge as a country where discrimination was intolerable and freedom was promised to all who entered. As the United States economy grew, other countries economies weakened. Many European countries suffered from economic hardship. Crop failure, resulted in loss of jobs and famine. Although poverty became a problem in Europe which helped fuel the mass migration, it was not the only obstacle Europeans faced. For the newcomers arriving without family, some solace could be found in the ethnic neighborhoods populated by their fellow countrymen. Uncle Mike had two apartments on Arthur Ave. in the Bronx. Here they could converse in their native tongue, practice their religion, and take part in cultural celebrations that helped ease the loneliness. Often, though, life for all was not easy. Most industries like the Slate Industry offered hazardous conditions and very low wages--lowered further after the padrone took out his share. Many found it very difficult to accept. In spite of the difficulties, few gave up and returned home. In today’s world, being Italian the world looks to Italy and Italians for their opinions on food, fashion, cars and whatever else is cool. Sadly however, there was a time, at least here in the United States, when newly-arrived Italians were treated worse than animals. Many in our town where ashamed to be Italian and Americanized there name hoping outsiders would not notice. Today Italians, like all European peoples, are considered racially Caucasian or ‘white’, but that was not always the case. When Italian immigrants began arriving in the United States in the late 19th Century, they were met with racial prejudice. These people, mainly from Southern Italy, were physically darker than most of the arriving immigrants from Europe at the time and were treated harshly.. Their Catholic faith also put them at odds with Protestant America, and grouped them with the other marginalized groups like the Mexicans of the south and the Irish of the north. It was also easy for local law enforcement to pin crimes on men who did not know English, or their legal rights. Grandpop had a saying summing up the disillusionment felt by many: and used this Italian saying "I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, found out three things: First, the streets weren't paved with gold; second, they weren't paved at all: and third, I was expected to pave them." In spite of the difficulties, few gave up and returned home. They were determined to make a better life for themselves and there families.

Grazie, Joe




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Fennel Seed Semi di Finocchio 

Ciao Amici,
The debate continues, should Italian sausage have fennel seed in it or not? Some swear it must have it while others swear it must not. Fennel Seed is also known by the names Finocchio and Carosella. The name Fennel is derived from the Latin,"foenum", meaning "hay" due to the finely divided leaves of the Fennel plant. Ancient Greek athletes ate fennel seed so they would gain strength, but not weight. Growing up in the butcher shop I would say nearly 90 % of the sausage that was sold did not have fennel seed in it. I believe one of the main reasons is that the fennel seed would over power the taste of the Sunday gravy [or sauce a debate for another time.] Asking one of my old time customers he said fennel seed in sausage is “Medigan” Italian Sausage.” After doing some research though I found out that sausages in Italy vary and change according to regional cuisines. However, in Sicily they put fennel in the sausages and very few have hot sausages. Whereas, most hot sausages, come from regions which do not use fennel in them. There are several areas of Italy that do not use any fennel, specifically the Northern part where fennel is considered poor man's food. Some food writers believe the over-use of fennel in Italian Sausage is an American invention. We make all four types, which can be purchased at the shop; sweet which only has salt & pepper, sweet fennel which has fennel seed, hot with just crushed red peppers flakes and hot & fennel which has crushed red pepper and fennel seed that you can also find at our friends and former teammates Dietz’s Tavern in Wind Gap. Mom would also use fennel seed when she would make the little tarelli which are great to snack on. I continue to make Mom’s Tarelli and are also available at the shop.
There's fennel for you, and columbines; there's rue for you; and here's some for me; we may call it herb of grace o'Sundays.”

~William Shakespeare, ‘Hamlet’ (1564-1616)
Grazie, Joe




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Labor Day/ La giornata del lavoro

Ciao Amici

 Reading the book the “ Roseto Story Anatomy of Health” by John G Bruhn and Stewart Wolf I a came across a story that relates to Labor day . Being from Roseto all these years I suspected  but never realized this. The following is taken directly for the book. Father DeNisco attempted to improve the lot of men in the quarries, who were earning only about 8 cents an Hour, were paid only every three months , and were compelled to trade at the company stores . After failing in negotiations with the quarry owners ,he organized a labor union ,appointing himself president .When shortly thereafter he called a strike , quarry owners imported southern blacks a strike breakers . When the blacks saw the dangerous quarry pits , however they refused to work and soon returned home. The Priest was ultimately successful in increasing wages to $ 1.50 for a nine hour day. On another occasion, when small pox epidemic erupted in the town, he closed the quarries again by imposing quarantine on the citizens. In addition, he urged them to become immunized. Father DeNisco urged the young girls of the community to become wage earners, encouraging many to work in the shirt factory in Bangor. Ultimately preferring to keep the interests of his people concentrated in their town and, in their church how ever the priest appealed to the wealthier residents of Roseto to establish their own shirt factory .Finally in 1905 the first such factory was built. 

Without labor nothing prospers.  ~Sophocles

Senza il lavoro nulla prospera. ~

Grazie,

Joe




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Back to School / Si Torna a Scuola

Ciao Amici, 
As schools open in the area and my grandson Tazio starts the 3rd grade, Mia 1st and Tatiana starting Kindergarten, I am reminded of myself as a child preparing for school. I remember having some fear but like Tatiana I had an advantage of having an older brother to be with. As the time came to leave I was given hugs and kisses from my Mom, Dad, and Grandmom. Grandpop would fix my tie for me and say, “Stata buona, e ascoltare le monache e ogni cosa sarà grande.” [“Stay good, and listen to the Sister and every thing will be great.”] As he finished tying my tie, he put his right hand open on my cheek leaving me with the touch of his hand on my face to remind me of his love. As we were leaving the butcher shop, there was a wave of navy and white in the 100 block of Garibaldi Ave.; Marie, Vince and Joe Aversano, Joe and Ann Carol Peters, Lou and Suzy Camilletti, Carmela, Roseanne and Danny Farole, Guy Catalina and others. The uniform brought us uniformity as we walked to school. As my grandchildren like myself will wear uniforms although I only had one choice they have a few different colors and styles to choose from. The debate continues but I really feel that uniforms are a good idea. We all wore all the same uniform all of us held the same position in the class. The uniforms improved security in schools as teachers and staff can quickly see who should and who should not be on school grounds. Uniforms create equality among students, so students are judged by what they do and say and not by what they wear and how much money they have. Uniforms can also be designed to improve safety in other ways by ensuring that every child is wearing clothing that is sun safe, appropriate for the weather and non-provocative. Uniforms promote a sense of school pride and belonging as well as giving the school an identity in the community. Uniforms improve students' focus. If a student looks like a student and feels like a student, he is more likely to act like a student.
La rende uniforme per la fratellanza, poiché quando universalmente adottato esso copre tutte le differenze di classe e il paese. 
The uniform makes for brotherhood, since when universally adopted it covers up all differences of class and country. 
~Robert Baden-Powell
Grazie, 
Joe





Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Tomato Il Pomodoro

Ciao Amici,   

This time of year as the tomatoes ripen in the garden, I am brought back in time to when I helped Grandmom it the garden.  A brief history of tomatoes suggests tomatoes went from poison to passion. Just to seal the tomato’s fate, all parts of the plant, with the exception of its fruit, actually are poisonous. There are many names that suggest the tomato is a fruit like the French name, pomme d’amore, or “apple of love” or Spanish “pome dei Moro,” or “apple of the Moors.” In Italian “pomi d’oro” [golden apple] such names, goes this theory, that the Puritans felt uneasy with the tomato since apple and love suggest the Adam and Eve story.  Today tomatoes are enjoyed in many different ways. Now getting back to Grandmom; all the hard work she spent on caring for the tomato plants had finally come to fruition. As a youngster I would like to help her water the plants but since the plants were much higher then I was at the time, I would love to hide between the rows as if I was in a jungle, a jungle of heavenly tomatoes that is. The aroma of the tomato plants always brings me back to that time of innocence in my life. Grandmom would let me carefully pick them. “You see Josey,” she said “When the fruit is ripe it comes right off the vine, if it is hard to pull off that means it is not ready to pick yet;” another lesson taught to me in the little Italian vegetable garden in Roseto. The best was yet to come when Grandmom brought the ripe tomato into the kitchen and then she’d spruzzare acqua [spray water] on some bread and tagliare e spremuto il pomodoro [cut and squeezed the tomato], add olive oil and salt & pepper. This was a staple in our house in the summer pane con olio di oliva e pomodoro [bread with olive oil and tomato]. There were not a lot of fancy ingredients in the old country but what was used had extreme quality.

~Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes
What would life be like without homegrown tomatoes
Only two things that money can't buy
That's true love and home grown tomatoes.”
John Denver, 'Home Grown Tomatoes'
(from a song written by Guy Clark) 

Grazie,

Joe




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Macaroni / Maccheroni

Ciao Amici,  

     Growing up in the butcher shop one my favorite chores was when Grandmom would have me stock the shelves with all the different macaroni. There were so many different shapes and such beautiful Italian words to describe them. While other children played with legos and puzzles I was playing with the different shapes and sizes of macaroni created by the imagination of the Italian mind.  As I would put the penne on the shelf Grandmom said, “ Especta  lasciatemi spiegare qualcosa per voi  Josie ” [“Wait let me explain something to you Joe.”]  “See the Penne “Lisce” which means that it is smooth.  Penne Rigate means that it has lines, and Penne Mezzanni Rigate which is half the size with lines, and Penne Mostaccioli [Little Mustache] is slightly larger then penne can also be Lisce [smooth] or Rigate [Lines].  Rigatoni also has the same variety as penne but is larger and tubular. We especially like the extra large ones that we called “Scah Foon.”  As the Sunday gravy simmered on those Sunday mornings the butcher shop was filled with such a wonderful aroma which you anticipated and looked forward to every Sunday   it was tradition. As my brothers and I waited we just could not take it any more and would start nagging, “Is it ready yet?”  “Is it ready yet?”  Okay, okay Grandmom would say, “ Che è abbastanza , afferrare alcune pane e si possono gustare la ravu . Zitto e mangiare, come abbiamo chiuso la nostra bocca e mangiare . poi ci farebbe ridere [Ok that is enough, grab some bread and you can taste the gravy. Shut up and eat.”] How can we shut our mouths and eat? Then we would laugh! What kind of macaroni are we having today I Would ask Grandpop? “I will give you a hint and see if you can guess, he’d always say, “We are going western tonight so what show do we watch every Sunday night?  “Bonanza! Hooray Hooray Wagon Wheels!”

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.”

"La vita è una combinazione di magia e pasta."


~Federico Fellini

Grazie,

Joe

 

 

 

 

Growing up in the Butcher Shop
National Put Zucchini On Your Neighbor’s Porch

Ciao Amici,   

     Growing up in Roseto at the time I did it seemed everyone had a garden that had zucchini and other summer squash types growing in it, and we all know that this time of year vines go crazy producing hundreds of tiny squash.  They quickly grow to gargantuan size if not picked. That’s why Pennsylvanian Tom Roy designated August 8 as National Sneak Some Zucchini onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day. To celebrate it, you simply wait until the dead of night and quietly creep up to your neighbors’ front doors, leaving plenty of zucchini for them to enjoy. Ancestors of zucchini come from Americas. They were native to today's Mexico and the northern parts of South America since more than 7,000 years ago. When the European colonization of Americas started, they were brought to Europe where their cultivation began. Zucchini were developed in Italy in the 19th century near Milan. The fact that zucchini doesn’t have an English name per se reflects the fact that people in English-speaking countries have only really been enjoying them for a few decades. As a young child I was fascinated watching Grandmom pick the golden blossom from end of each emergent zucchini.  Then into the kitchen Grandmom had a variety of recipes in which the flowers may be deep fried as fritters or tempura (after dipping in a light tempura batter), stuffed, sautéed, or baked. I especially liked the ones she stuffed with mozzarella; because while enjoying them, it allowed you to stretch out your arm with a trail of the cheese. Grandmom and Grandpop used zucchini’s bland taste, and combined it with its incredible abundance that led to a bewildering variety of food applications. Zucchini was sautéed, baked, poached, and stuffed, eaten raw, breaded and fried, made into parmigana, as a pizza topping, made with macaroni, marinated for antipasto and of course baked into bread. Here is a note to put with your zucchini when you leave them on your neighbors porch. I appreciate that you are always nice and never a meanie, so I brought you some zucchini. Now you can make zucchini paninis, zucchini and beanies, zucchini linguini, an zucchini martinis, to celebrate.

Grazie,

Joe

 

 


Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Sister and Brother/ Sorella e fratello

Ciao Amici,   

 My Grandfather’s niece Antoinette wrote a book about her mother Mary. This is taken from that book:

 I recall my mother’s relationship with her brother Philip. There was a special bond between them, and no one knows why, except that their personalities meshed beautifully. He thought the world of her and she of him. When he would visit from Roseto Mom would make homemade, roasted chicken, etc. If he would visit on a Monday, which was soup day, Mom would make these very thin noodles, from scratch of course. I thought they looked like and tasted like strings, that’s how thin they were .Uncle Philip loved them and would say “Not even the King of Italy ate such fine noodles” Their relationship lasted all through their lives. Uncle Philip died first, when he was ill and hospitalized, my mother, who was suffering from Parkinson Disease wanted to visit him in the hospital. It was a difficult and a long ride to the hospital in Bethlehem, but she made it. I was not present at the meeting, but I was told that when Uncle Philip saw my mother tears flowed freely, as did my mother. They both knew that this was the last time they would see each other in this life. Uncle Philip owned a butcher shop / grocery store and had a small farm where he kept the animals. His wife Aunt Teodora helped him in the shop and also had a large vegetable garden. In actuality, Aunt Teodora ran the butcher shop, custom cutting the meat for the customers, lugging the huge pieces of meat from the walk-in, and doing everything needed to have a successful business. Uncle Philip also worked in the store, purchased the animals, slaughtered and prepped them for sale, and probably ordered the groceries. Both of them were very hard workers, which accounted for their success.

Grazie, 
Joe 

 

 


Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel 
La festa di Nostra Signora del Carmelo 

Ciao Amici, 

The last Sunday of July marks the feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel in Roseto and though out the world. This tradition along with many others was brought to us from the old country, Roseto Valfortore to be precise. The feast is still celebrated there, to see the differences between the two, a documentary by Fred DeFrank, "Roseto & Roseto: The Fest," DeFrank set out to capture the spirit behind one of the most popular examples of common ground between the two distant towns: their continued annual celebrations of the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. The bond between Roseto and the Italian town of Roseto Valfortore, Italy, the ancestral namesake of the Slate Belt borough, goes well beyond a few shared surnames and a mutual interest in pasta. For me being that my Mom was born there it adds to the significance. For my Grandfather’s side his sister Mary Falcone’s children would come up for the procession on Sunday. My Grandfather Philip’s Birthday was on July 25th and I was born on July 29th on the Sunday of the “Big Time.” I was born at Pocono Hospital because Doctor Farace was golfing at Glenbrook and there would be no time to drive to Easton. So there were other reasons to party also. When your family has been making sausage since 1926 the sausage & peppers has an even more significant meaning, one of family pride that can only be explained by watching your grandparents make it and seeing their faces when they served it. This year the “Big Time” is bittersweet. All the years gone by and the familiar faces are gone especially Mom. But we will get through it by holding on to the beautiful memories that we are so lucky to have of growing up in an Italian family, in Roseto, in the Butcher shop. See you at the “Big Time.” 


Grazie, 
Joe 



Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Altar Boy/ Chierichetto

Ciao Amici,

My friend Jimmy and I were reminiscing about the time we were altar boys at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. I was ten years old and the first Mass I had to serve was the early Mass during Lent I believe it started at 06:00 am. I had gone though the practices with friends and there was going to be a 7th grader that I knew that was going to serve with me. He will remain nameless. 

When Mom woke me up, she told me to walk in the back of the house up the alley way that I would not have to be on Garibaldi which was busier, just cross Jefferson Street by the Boy Scout Hall. As I walked out an into the alley I smelled smoke; I got behind Tony DePiero house  and I could see his Mom “Mariucci”[little Mary]  all in black with a kerchief on her head with a pitch fork feeding the fire with all that remained from winter. I was terrified at first until I realized who it was. I walked though the cemetery and up to the front of the church to put my altar cloth on and waited for my partner to come. It was getting late and I realized that he was not going to show up. As I went in the room where the Priest prepares to serve, Father Leone knowing it was my first service, assured me everything would be alright, “God is on our side,” he said. He cued me when to light the candles, pour the wine, and rinse the hands, ring the bells and so on.

The Mass was different back then we all faced the altar and the mass was in Latin. I could not wait for the final note to be song as the parishioners exited the Church. I had done it; I had completed my first service and was not sent to purgatory. I was relived and it gave me faith. On another note being brought up with wine in our house was helpful. When it came time for service in church, Father Leone had red wine and then red wine again, Father Davis had white wine and then water, Father Prior had Rose` and then Rose` with water the second time. Some of the first orders I took in the hospitality field.


An altare quod ubicumque invenitur, ubi civilization existit.
Wherever an altar is found, there civilization exists. 
Joseph de Maistre
Grazie,
Joe


 


Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Six Pillars of Character / Sei pilastri di carattere

Ciao Amici,  

I recently read the Six Pillars of Character by Michael Josephson. It emulated what I learned from my grandparents, parents and Catholic education.

The Six Pillars of Character:

The most effective framework I know is built on six core ethical values called the Six Pillars of Character: trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship. If you want to be a person of character:

First, be worthy of trust; live with honor and integrity; be honest, keep your promises, and do what's right even when it costs more than you want to pay.

Second, treat others with respect; live by the Golden Rule; and avoid physical violence, verbal abuse, prejudice, and all other acts that demean or offend human dignity.

Third, be responsible; exercise self-discipline and self-restraint; do your best, be self-reliant, and be accountable for the consequences of your choices.

Fourth, strive to be fair, don't cheat, be open and consistent, don't jump to conclusions, and be careful in making judgments about others.

Fifth, be caring, kind, empathetic, and charitable; avoid selfishness; and do what you can to improve the lives of others.

Sixth, be a good citizen, do your share to make your community better, protect the environment, participate in democratic processes, play by the rules, and obey laws[unless you have a compelling conscientious objection].

This is by Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

This was a time when many folks were up holding these pillars of character. These, in my opinion, are significant. Yet not demonstrated so much now in our times; leaves me with a sad sense of disappointment.

Grazie,
Joe

 



Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Ode To My Mother/ Ode Alla Mia Madre

Ciao Amici,   

These words came to me at the shop when returned as I pondered after my Mom’s death

 

You taught me how to talk                                   Lei mi ha insegnato a parlare
 
You taught me how to walk                                 lei mi ha insegnato come andare a piedi
 
You taught me how to cook                                lei mi ha insegnato a cucinare
 
You taught me which way to look                      voi mi ha insegnato che il modo di guardare
 
You taught me respect                                        lei mi ha insegnato rispetto


You taught me what to expect                           Lei mi ha insegnato cosa si aspettano che
 
You taught me the good from the bad             voi mi ha insegnato il bene dal male
 
You taught me to be happy and not sad          che mi ha insegnato ad essere felice e non triste
 
You taught me how to laugh                               voi mi ha insegnato a ridere
 
You taught me how to cry                                    lei mi ha insegnato a piangere
 
You taught me how to live                                     lei mi ha insegnato a vivere
 
And now you taught me how to die                     e ora voi mi ha insegnato a morire
 
 

Rest In Peace Mom I Love You

Grazie,
Joe




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Keep Singing, Michael Continuano a Cantare

Ciao Amici,   

I recently came across this article and would like to share it with you; it is by Michael Josephson of Character Counts

Every day since three-year-old Michael was told he was going to have a baby sister; he would touch his mommy's tummy tenderly and sing all the songs he knew to the baby. Tragically, the baby was born in critical condition, and the doctors said the newborn would not last through the week. Michael, who was unaware of the crisis, kept insisting he wanted to see his sister and sing to her. Although children were not allowed in intensive care, his mother decided to let Michael see his sister and sing to her before she passed away. When the nurse saw Michael in the room she said, "That child will have to leave." Michael's mom responded firmly, "Not until he sings to his sister." Michael didn't notice all the wires attached to the tiny infant. Touching the outside of the plastic crib, he beamed and began to sing:

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine. 
You make me happy when skies are gray. 
You'll never know, dear, how much I love you. 
Please don’t take my sunshine away."

Strangely, the baby seemed to respond. Her pulse rate slowed and her breathing became easier. With tears in her eyes, the mother said, "Keep singing, Michael, keep singing." The more Michael sang, the more the baby relaxed. Soon even the nurse chimed in, "Keep singing, Michael, keep singing." And Michael did. The baby fell into a calm, healing sleep. Within days, she was well enough to take home.

This is by Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.(488.5)

Grazie,
Joe

 



Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Flag / Bandiera

Ciao Amici, 

Growing up in Roseto at the time when I was young many houses would have the American and Italian Flags furling in the wind. The American flag  consists of thirteen equal horizontal stripes of red [top and bottom] alternating with white, with a blue rectangle in the canton [referred to specifically as the "union"] bearing fifty small, white, five-pointed stars arranged in nine offset horizontal rows, where rows of six stars [top and bottom] alternate with rows of five stars. The 50 stars on the flag represent the 50 states of the United States of America, and the 13 stripes represent the thirteen British colonies that declared independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain, and became the first states in the U.S.[Nicknames for the flag include The Stars and Stripes and Old Glory. Every school day at Our lady of Mt Carmel we would begin our day the way you are suppose to by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance; one Nation, under God. The Italian Flag consists of three equal vertical bands of color – green, white, and red – with the green being the one on the hoist side. This kind of flag is known as a “tricolor” design, the same kind of design the French flag and Irish flag have. The Italian flag is known as Il Tricolore[tree|koh|LOHR|eh] because of this, in much the same way that the American flag is commonly known as the “stars and stripes.” The modern flag of Italy wasn’t made the country’s official flag until 1948, but the three colors in the flag have been in use since the late 1700s representing the various city-states and kingdoms that made up the country we know as Italy today. There are poetic meanings assigned to the colors of Italy’s flag, but they were only associated with the flag after the fact – the flag wasn’t given its colors with those meanings in mind. You’ll read that the colors represent hope [green), faith [white], and charity [red]; or that the green is for the hills, the white is for the mountains, and the red for the bloody wars for independence.

 

La bandiera americana rappresenta tutti noi e tutti i valori che noi consideriamo sacri.

The American flag represents all of us and all the values we hold sacred.

~Adrian Cronauer

Grazie,
Joe

 



Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Beef Steak / Bistecca di Manzo

Ciao Amici,

As grilling season approaches I am reminded of times growing up in the butcher shop helping Grandpop and Dad cook on the grill. Back in the day before gas grills, everyone cooked with real charcoal.  Was cooking with real charcoal more convenient? No it was not. Was cooking with real charcoal better tasting? You better believe it! Part of the fun as a young child was watching Grandpop start the fire. Like an ancient ritual from days gone by watching and learning it was as if the torch was being past from Grandfather to  Father to Grandson. Part of the fun was taking our time as Grandpop would explain to me how to start, stoke and at what time to put the food on.  One beef item you do not see anymore is bone in round steak. This piece has the top, bottom and eye round in it. This cut tends to be not as tender, but Grandpop raised grain fed Angus beef; even the round steak was tender. These times seems every one has to put all sorts of “cockamamie” dry rubs, wet marinades, injections, wood chips etcetera.  Back then life was much simpler. All that was needed was salt, pepper, olive oil and steak but all of the highest quality. We preferred to taste the steak and not have flavor masked with ridiculous and pointless ingredients. As the charcoal went from flames to ambers we would talk and laugh until just at the right moment the steaks were put on the grill in no time flipped once and onto the plate. Grandmom and Mom had prepared some “Insalata” and Matt’s bread is all that was needed. We sat alfresco, listened to nature and watched the twilight come upon us; there is no better place to be on earth with family and friends.

Solo il tempo di mangiare il cibo della dieta è mentre stai aspettando la bistecca di cucinare."

The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.” 
Julia Child

Grazie,

Joe

 




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
The Empty Swing Set / La Rotazione a Vuoto Impostato

Ciao Amici, 
Looking at the empty swing set what memories we had. 
Where are the friends and family who once helped build it? Gone to other places, 
Children’s laughter now silent just a breeze of wind echoes though the swing.
No more calls for push me Daddy push me higher and higher no more to be heard. 
No more Daddy help I fell off make my knee better.  
Father time has made us too old for the swing set,
Mother Nature has turned your chains to rust.
The empty swing set stands as a monument of days when you were needed 
When the swing set was filled with laughter of sisters, brothers, classmates and friends 
Moving down the slide up and down but going nowhere. 
Of pushing each other on the two seat swing and daring each other to go higher and higher who can you trust? 
Then the motion stopped, the movement has come to an end only a passing squirrel may move it ever so slightly again.
The children are no longer there to hear, “Ok boys and girls supper is ready come home” 

Godetevi le piccole cose della vita perché il giorno potrete guardare indietro e rendersi conto che essi sono stati i grandi cose

Enjoy the little things in life because one day you will look back and realize they were the big things 


Grazie,
Joe

 



Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Primavera/Spring

Ciao Amici,

     As the old saying goes spring is in the air. Spring in Italy is a good time to find festivals. You'll find flower festivals, food and wine festivals, medieval reenactments, and events celebrating rituals of spring. We have all heard the phrase spring chicken which means a young chicken, especially one from two to ten months old and having tender meat that at one time was only available in the spring. It is also a slang word for something I am not which is young. “Spring lamb” is what it is, lamb born in the early spring months. Modern livestock techniques allow for spring lamb to be available year-round. Younger lamb has a milder flavor and more tender texture, so it is more tasty to those not accustomed to or fond of game meats. A recipe my Dad enjoyed making was pasta primavera which is a dish that consists of pasta and plum tomatoes, mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, peas, Parmigiano –Reggiano and heavy cream. The invention of the dish is contested; Le Cirque co-owner Sirio Macchioni claimed that his wife Egidiana threw it together from ingredients on hand during a trip to Nova Scotia; Ed Giobbi, an amateur cook himself, claims to have shown Macchioni and Jean Vergnes (then chef at Le Cirque) a similar dish which Vergnes then slightly modified, and chef Franco Brigandi claims to have invented it while the maitre d' at Il Gatto Pardo Ristorante in New York City and prepared it for Bob Lape on WABC television before his dish was requested to be cooked by other culinary practitioners. All accounts agree that Vergnes refused to allow the dish to be prepared in the kitchen, so that the many requests for it had to be satisfied with a pot set up in a hallway. The combination of lightly cooked vegetables and pasta, which Claiborne and Franey hailed as "by far, the most talked-about dish in Manhattan", is widely recognized as one of the signature developments of American cuisine in the 1970s. If you are from Roseto, cooking pasta with vegetables is nothing new like cavatelli and broccoli, or malfada with cabbage or cauliflower in a shoe way –shoe way sauce. As usual they were ahead of their time and would “spring” into action at times and throw items together that were on hand to create a memorable meal.

La primavera ha restituito. La terra è come un bambino che sa di poesie.

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.

~Rainer Maria Rilke

Grazie,

Joe

 




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Mother Quotes / Citazioni di Madre

Ciao Amici,

With Mother’s Day approaching I thought you would like to read some Italian quotes about Mothers.  I was blessed with one.

Dopo essere diventata una madre è davvero apprezzare la vostra!

After becoming a mother you really really appreciate yours!

Non sposare un uomo che odia la sua madre, perché egli finisce per odiare voi.

Never marry a man who hates his mother, because he'll end up hating you.

Una Madre è colei che può prendere il posto di tutti gli altri, ma il cui luogo nessun altro può prendere.

A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take.

Amor di madre, amore senza limiti..

A mother's love has no limits. 

L'affetto verso i genitori e fondamento di ogni virtu. 

Loving one's parents is fundamentally the greatest virtue.

 Una buona mamma vale cento maestre. 

 A good mother is worth a hundred teachers.

 Chi si prede cura dei bambini deve accettare il bene ed il male. 

 Those whose job it is to take care of children have to accept the good with the bad. 

 Un bimbo che non gioca, felicita ne ha poca.

 A child that doesn't play, has little happiness.

 Le piante vogliono essera annaffiate, ma non affogate.

 (Literally) Plants want to be taken care of, not suffocated, but it can be translated into something along the lines of "Over-protection does more harm than good"

 Gatti e bambini -- piu belli da piccini. –

 Cats and children -- the younger they are the lovelier they are.

Chi si volta, e chi si gira, sempre a casa va finire.-

No matter where you go or turn, you will always end up at home

Grazie,

Joe

 

 


Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Kid Talk / I Bambini a Parlare

Ciao Amici,
I was remembering the old Art Linkletter Show, “Children Say The Darndest Things“. Looking up some of the quotes from the show still brings the laughter, like when Art asks “Who is George Washington’s wife”? The little boy answers, “Miss America”. Or when Art asked the little girl, “What do we learn from the story of Jesus turning water into wine”? The little girl answers, “The more wine we get the better the wedding is”. Or a little boy asks, “Can I wear a bear costume at your wedding since I am the ring bear”?
Growing up with three daughters and now grandchildren they also said the darnest things. I recall that one warm day when I took a bottle of water with me while I picked up Julia, Jasmine and Olivia after school at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. When we got into the van to drive to the shop, I opened the bottle of water and started driving. All of a sudden screams from the back of the van, “Dad”! “Stop, stop, stop”! “What’s wrong I asked”? “Dad we learned today in school that you should not drink and drive”! I pulled over by the church to explain to them that no one should drink alcohol while driving, not water”. This past week at the shop as I walked from building to building along the stone path Tatiana was walking with me, “Stop, stop, stop Pappa Nonno !” “What’s wrong I asked”? “Stop walking on the flowers”! “What flowers”? I questioned. “The yellow flowers”! She insisted. “They’re not flowers they are dandelions, it’s a weed”. “No Pappa Nonno”! “They’re beautiful yellow flowers”. You know I guess you are right; one old man’s weed is another granddaughter’s flower.


Se la vostra vita ispira solo un bambino... La tua vita è stata un successo.
If your life inspires just one child... Your life has been a success.
~ Mark Desaux


Grazie,
Joe




Growing up in the Butcher Shop
Social Technology / Tecnologia Sociale

Ciao Amici,

Looking back I see how things have changed with the interaction of people. The other day as I was walking from one building to another a car had stopped in our parking lot. I could see the couple looking at their GPS, they seemed to be lost and as I approached their car I asked if they needed help. With an unkindly wave, I got the hint, we have a GPS we do not need your help. Not even when you offer, some people would prefer to get directions on the computer. It seems to happen quite often with the new generation. A friend of ours posted a picture of her daughter and a friend sitting on a sofa facing each other while both were on their phones. Joelene messaged the mother and said, “Don’t tell me they’re texting each other?” Sure enough they were. How is that they need to use a devise to communicate while they are right next to each other? Another example is when I send someone out for a delivery. I will give them the written directions but they still choose to enter it into their GPS but enter the wrong information and then call us up saying they are lost! Another occasion was when we were out one night for dinner, we saw a family of four placing their order. As soon as the waitress walked away, four phones come out and their heads are all down looking at their phones and not at each other. Can you imagine Sunday dinner at your grandparents and taking a phone out when the spaghetti was passed around? You would find out the other use of the wooden spoon in no time.

 

È spaventosamente chiaro la nostra tecnologia ha superato la nostra umanità"

It is appallingly obvious our technology has exceeded our humanity”

~ Albert Einstein

Grazie,
Joe

 



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Pasqua / Easter

Ciao Amici,      

Easter week was a special time in the butcher shop. To some, it may be hard to understand how important Easter is for Italians. It may not be very big in the USA, but in Italy it is the second most important religious holiday after Christmas. From a strictly religious point of view, it is even more important: in fact Easter, the feast dedicated to the resurrection of Christ, is the celebration of the mystery that is at Easter for Italians has the same importance of Thanksgiving for Americans. Lent was coming to a close and carnivale [meat go away] would soon be Ritorna Carne [meat returns].  Grandmom and Grandpop realized Easter comes just one time a year and it was time to Fare fieno quando la luce del sole [make hay when the sun shines.] My customers say I work long hours, seven to seven, seven days a week. Easter week Grandmom would tell her customers they worked 8 days  a week. Easter Saturday was a time of reflection as family, friends and customers coming to the shop to pick up their order and wish one another a Buona Pasqua. The menu was made up of all the by products from the lamb the treasues only the butcher had. The “capisela” [roasted lamb head], the “sanguedore”[blood pudding]

“ sorfito” [stir fried liver with peppers] and  tucanade [lamb caseings  wraped around provolone and prosciutto]. TraditionalEaster meals in Italy vary from region to region, but eggs and roasted lamb are common elements everywhere. Eggs represent life, fertility and renewal, all of which are essential symbols of Easter. Mom would make her bread with dyed eggs and eggs are found in the spezzatta soup made with dandelion greens and lamb pieces with bone. And of course the traditional Roasted Leg of Lamb, as a symbol of birth and the Sheppard, was our traditional main course. On Easter Sunday when I sit at the table to enjoy Easter dinner with family I can’t help to reflect on my Dad, Grandmom and Grandpop and the dinners of years past. Grandmom dished out the spezzata, Grandpop then Dad carving the lamb. I still see them around the table smiling at me with the love in their eyes. To all my readers Buona Pasqua / Happy Easter!

Pasqua dice che si può mettere la verità in una tomba, ma non rimanere lì."

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won't stay there." -- Clarence W. Hall

Con Cordiali Saluti,

Joe

 

 



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Sangwitch / Sandwich

Ciao Amici,          

On our signage and business cards and our menus, we use the word sangwitch instead of sandwich. Tired of spell check we added it to our dictionary. The word “sangwitch” is a Rosetan slang word  for food put between bread that you eat with your hands. Back  in the day we would put any type of food between bread, eggplant cutlet,  beef pizzaoli, veal parmigana and of course  sausage & peppers; not only that but eggs, potatoes, macaroni, starch on starch no problem we just loved sangwitchs. Growing up in the butcher shop my grandparents would ask, “Josie, Vuoi un  Sangwitch?” Not, “ Joseph, would you like  a sandwich?” They’d ask, “Josie Vuoi qualche, salami, capicola, prosciutto, sopressatta, mozzerella or provolone?” They would never ask, “Joseph would you care for American cheese and bologna or peanut butter and jelly.” “Josie,Vuoi some roasted peppers on it and oil & vinegar on the Italian bread?”  Not, “Joseph would you care for some mayonaise on the Wonder Bread?” At a recent event  we heard one of the guest comment, “Sangwitch, they don’t know what they are talking about. It’s a sandwich an Italian sub on Italian bread. You see that is the problem, a sandwich is just food for the sake of eating put together. But a sangwitch is a work of art made with love and to enjoy.  I wish I would have been there when one of my staff came back to the shop and said someone had said “Look, dumb Italians, they don’t even know how to spell sandwich. If my Dad was still here he would have said, “Let me introduce them to a sandwich; the “Knuckle Sangwitch!”


Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe

 

 


 

Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Politically Correct / Politicamente Corretto

Ciao Amici,      

Have you ever noticed that back when our grandparents were young no one worried about being politically correct? Today's politically "correct" society has all sorts of fancy watered down names for sin. We call a lie a fib [or "I misspoke"], adultery an affair, stealing as in embezzelment, etc., etc. But the old timers back in my grandfather’s day did not beat around the bush. Sin is sin is sin. To call poison by any other name would be deadly. When you did wrong they would not sugarcoat it, you could see the disappointment in their face and that was a look you never wanted to see again. To call sin by any other name is also deadly. Not only when we did what we knew was wrong, we sinned, but also when we knew to do good, and did not do it, were told about.  When you are growing up in Roseto in the sixties you look up to the older sibling and us guys all wanted to be tough like our older brothers. I remember one time my friend came up with a  plan to shoplift at one of the little stores, he wanted to run it by his older brother who was a member of the “Rats.”  My friend was excited to tell his brother but when he finished his brother Frank just looked down and said “John you can’t do that.” “Why not” asked John,? “The plan is fool proof!”Because you see John, you will hurt Mom and Dad.  “Where” John asked, “Where will I hurt them?” “Right here” said Frank. “You will break this and pounded his chest on the heart.”  Needless to say the plan was never carried out. Frank made a good choice in explaining to his younger brother. There is an Old Italian saying; “Per sapere e non fare non è ancora per sapere.” [To know and not to do is not yet to know]

Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins." 
Chiunque, poi, che conosce il bene che deve fare e non lo fa, peccati." James 4:17

Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe

 

 

 

Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Marsala

Ciao Amici,      

One of our most popular items on our menu is Chicken Marsala.  Marsala not to be confused with Masala, which is a mixture of spices in South Asian cuisine. Marsala is a wine, dry or sweet, produced in the region surrounding the Italian city of Marsala in Sicily. Marsala is a fortified wine meaning alcohol is added to it like Port and Sherry. The addition of alcohol was to be sure it would last on long ocean voyages, but now it is made that way because customers had gotten use of the taste.  There were always bottles of Marsala in the walk-in refrigerator at the butcher shop. I would watch Grandpop make Veal Marsala. He would start with the finest veal, sliced thin then pounded with the side of the meat cleaver. He learned the recipe from when he lived in the Bronx above an Italian restaurant. He would flour the veal, pan fry it in olive oil then add mushrooms and onions. “Josie e vai a prendere il vino Marsala” [Joe go get the Marsala wine], Grandpop would call out. Then as the pan got hotter and hotter he would say “Guarda ora” [watch out now]. I would watch like an audience watching a magician, and then he would pour in the marsala and tip the pan slightly to ignite it. As the flames grew he would look over at me with a Grande sorriso [big smile]. I would applaud and yell, “Bravo!” Then he would bow his head and we would both laugh. Grandmom on the other hand would use Marsala in her rich Italian desserts such as zabaglione [a rich custard like pudding] and Pane di spanga [a sponge like cake layered with filling made with a Marsala custard.] Now when I am making Chicken Marsala at the shop and Tatiana is here I say watch out before I ignite the Marsala and across the table she yells, “Fire! Fire! Fire!  When I pour the chicken stock in the pan and the flame goes out she’ll look at me then we both laugh;  a tradition continues……

Con Cordiali Saluti,

Joe

 



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
St. Joseph / San Giuseppe

Ciao Amici,

After St. Patrick's Day has come and gone, you'll have to wait another year for corned beef and cabbage, and green beer. But while the Irish saint's day has passed, March 19th marks another saint's day that is celebrated with food and drink. Two days after St. Patrick’s we celebrate St. Joseph’s Feast Day and it is customary to wear all red on this day, the same way green in worn on St. Patrick’s Day. It is also Father's Day in Italy. The holiday's roots date back to the middle ages, when Sicily underwent a major drought that threatened a massive famine. The towns’ people prayed to their patron saint to bring them relief in the form of rain. In exchange, they promised to honor St. Joseph with a proper banquet. Sure enough, he answered their prayers. In return, they feasted on local foods such as fava beans, which thrived after the rain, as well as many sweets. The celebration begins with a religious representation. Selected locals portray an elderly man, a lovely young woman, and a little child. The three are seated at the head table and remain there during the early part of the festivity. Others accompanying this "Holy Family" are twelve men or boys, representing the Apostles and other children, attired as angels. The village priest blesses the food, and then the "Holy Family" is served first by the host and hostess. Upon a typical St. Joseph's Day the altar usually has three tiers, to represent the trinity. The other tiers might hold, in addition to the food: flowers (especially lilies), candles, figurines and symbolic breads and pastries shaped like a monstrance, chalices, fishes, doves, baskets, St. Joseph’s staff, lilies, the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts, carpentry tools, etc.; 12 fishes symbolizing the 12 Apostles; wine symbolizing the miracle at Cana; pineapple symbolizing hospitality; lemons for “luck”; bread and wine (symbolizing the Last Supper); and pictures of the dead. There will also be a basket in which the faithful place prayer petitions and Zeppole or Sfinge (St. Joseph also happens to be the patron saint of pastry chefs.) They are dough fritters covered in sugar — are also traditionally eaten on this day. Depending on where they are consumed, they can be simple fried doughnut holes, custard or cannoli filled or the equivalent of cream puffs made from choux pastry, similar to the French profiterole. Foods like pasta con sarde (Sardines) are traditionally served with a sprinkling containing bread crumbs to represent saw dust since St. Joseph was a carpenter. Because the feast occurs during Lent, traditionally no meat was allowed on the celebration table. 

Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe


 



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Mangia  /   Eat   
    
                           

Ciao Amici,      
Mangia! Mangia!  (Eat! Eat!) Grandmom would call out as our friends would wait  as she would bring her special treats to the table. One of the words with mangia I would here in the shop was  he is a Mangia & Beve , ( Eater  and Drinker ). Other Italian Proverbs Grandpop would tell us at the dinner table ,That could be  a mantra for the Italian Hospitaliy Business sayings like Chi mangia e non invita, possa strozzarsi con ogni mollica. - He who eats alone and invites no one, will choke with every crumb. Chi mangia solo crepa solo. - He who eats alone dies alone. Ciò che si mangia con gusto non fa mai male. - What you eat with pleasure will never make you sick. Mangiare senza bere è come il tuono senza pioggia. - Eating without drinking is like thunder without the rain. Mangia quello che piace a te, vesti come piace agli altri. - Eat what you like, but wear what others like. Non si vive per mangiare ma si mangia per vivere. - One doesn't live to eat, but eats to live. Whenever we would go out on a day trip Dad would figure where would  we mangiare fuori: to dine out . Our friends from Pen Argyl who were from  the Veneto and Lombardia of Italy were called Mangiapolenta: Polenta eater  All my dad’s Calabrese friends who would eat the Hot peppers would be called il mangiafuoco fire-eater. When Dad’s Neapolitan friends would be in town Dad would in jest call them Mangiamaccheroni: Macaroni-eater.  As St Patrick approaches The Irish are called Mangiapatate: Potato eaters . When my Dad and his friends would get together for one of there famous Gourmet Dinners it should have been called  Il Mangiatutto: Big Eater’s Club

Mangia che ti passa (Eat and it will be over, you’ll feel better)

Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe


 




Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Italian Love Phrases   
                                              

Ciao Amici,      

Growing up in the butchershop I was fortunate to be able to listen to my grandparents and parents speak Italian. There is a very good reason why Italian is called a 'Romance' language.  If you've ever listened to it or tried to learn to speak Italian you'll know it's the most romantic language in the world. The words, the sounds, tone and pitch  all come together in a beautiful melody. Grand Pop & Grand mom listened to Enrico Caruso , Mom & Dad, Luciano Pavarotti and Joelene & I Andrea Bocelli .As an example would you prefer to have squid or calamari for dinner even though it is the same product calamari just sounds better. Here are some of Italian Love phrases in Italian  , English  and how to pronounce . Surprise your partner with an Italian Love phase you won’t regret it. Some words you  hear in songs often is Amore (Love ) (Ah-more-ay) like when the moon hits your eyes like a big pizza pie that’s amore .As a young one when I would meet a new relative I would here Baciami ! (Kiss me ) (Ba-ch-yamee)  . When I would sit on the bench and watch the teen agers go by I would hear words like Ciao bella (Hello Gorgeous)to a women (chow-bell-a) or Sei piu`bella di un angelo ( you are more beautiful then an angel)  (say-ee-pee-oo bell-a dee oon anjel).   As my grandfather’s friends would visit and the homemade wine poured we would here the toast Cent’anni (A hundred years  of Happiness) (Chen-tanny). As I would hear grand pop call grandmom he always said her name a little different  instead of Theodora he would say Tiadoro when I asked he said that Tiadoro (Tee a-door-oh)  means I adore you why do you think she is smiling all the time  she is amore mio (ah-more-ay mee oh  ) my love.  And for amore mio Joelene Il mio nuncio vero amore (You are the love of my life.)

 

Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe

 




Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Italian Cuisine “Ciccioli” 
                                

Ciao Amici,      
When Italians immigrated into the Slate Belt they came from different areas of Italy.
Although Italians are known throughout the world for pizza, pasta, and tomato sauce, the national diet of Italy has traditionally differed greatly by region. Prior to the blending of cooking practices among different regions, it was possible to distinguish Italian cooking simply by the type of cooking fat used. Butter was used in the north, pork fat in the center of the country, and olive oil in the south. Staple dishes in the north were rice and polenta, and pasta was most popular throughout the south. During the last decades of the twentieth century (1980s and 1990s), however, pasta and pizza (another traditional southern food) became popular in the north of Italy. Pasta is more likely to be served with a white cheese sauce in the north and a tomato-based sauce in the south. 
 Once in the United States especially during WW2 when olive oil from Italy was not available, my dad told me that Grandpop would get olive oil from Spain. Being butchers
my grandparents made and sold lard. My dad told me that the lard they made was so good that they would have to butcher a pig just to make the lard. One of the by products of making the lard is the “ciccioli” or cracklins which is used to make the Crackin Bread or  Pizza con Ciccioli. As Grandmom prepared to make it all the ingredients were  “mettere in posizione” (put in place)  the ingredients were ready and measured but when it came  to  actually making the bread  it was her cooking skill and experience with the method,  to know when the ingredients  are added but only “Quando Basta” (when there is enough.) The temperature and humidity of the house determine the rising and kneading of the bread. Like many of my readers who miss their departed family I have to say I wish she was here to show me.  I do not recall her way but this week I am going to start making it again so that I can enjoy it again and remember Grandmom again, which is always a good thing to do.


Con Cordiali Saluti,
Joe

 



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
“Where To Go?” /  “Dove andare?”

Ciao Amici,  

There where many Italian and American phrases used about where to go back in the day while I was growing up in the butcher shop.When my  Dad needed a specilty food item for a recipe he would say we have to go to fifth and gabit to get it in other words a place so far you would have to scratch or substitue the ingrediant to complte the recipe. Another American phrase used to mean any extremely distant and inaccessible location is “Timbuktu.” Like in the sentence Angelo use to come to dinner often until he moved to tim buk tu.  The city of Timbuktu is an actual city in the land locked West African nation of Mali, the city is known for its extreme inaccessibility. An Italian /American phrase I heard often growing up was “Va Fa Napoli.” It literally means “Go to Naples!” One theory says this was said from one Sicilian American in New York to another as an insult. As if going up north to Naples was such a bad thing. Another guess is that Napoli, you have to remember that the Spaniards, stayed in the southern part of Italy for 400 years, the king of Spain had his headquarter in Napoli, the Italians are not very fond of invaders, that's when one of the phrase “Va Fa Napoli” came about. Another premise is that it is a polite way to tell some one to go someplace opposite of heaven.  An additional saying I would hear was Va fa un uovo literary means go lay an egg and the meaning is to do something bad or poorly; to perform poorly on stage. Lastly when I would become frustrated and Grandmom would see I was losing my temper she would tell me to go to the monastery and say “Pazienza detto il monaco” [Patience said the monk], which I need to use more often. Now a day if I become frustrated at times in stead of telling people where to go I tell them to have a nice day!

Grazie, Joe

 



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Parmigana

Ciao Amici, 
Two of our popular dishes we offer on J. DeFranco and Daughters catering menu are chicken & eggplant parmigana. There are many by different theories of the origins. Doing some research I went on Cillford Awright.com to get some facts. The most obvious is that the name of the dish derives from Parmigiano cheese, the predominate cheese used in the dish. Many food writers have voiced suspicion of this explanation because parmigiano is not native to Naples or other regions of southern Italy where eggplant Parmesan is found. They argue that, in fact, the dish originates in Parma in northern Italy, because either Parmesan refers to the city of Parma (which it does) or because the Parmesan cheese is from Parma (which it is). I have never been persuaded by this line of thinking because from at least the fourteenth century parmigiano was a widely traded cheese and found throughout Italy. Furthermore, the eggplant made its first appearance in Italy in Sicily and the southern regions, not in the north and it’s likely that a dish for eggplant would be invented in the south. Second, the dish is famous in the Campania region in general, Naples in particular, as well as in Sicily and Calabria and not in Parma. Another suggestion concerning the origin of the dish is offered by the Sicilian food authority Pino Correnti who argues that the word parmigiano actually comes from damigiana, a sleeve made of wicker where you put a wine bottle, or in this case, the hot casserole. Another explanation to the origin of the name of this dish is reported by cookbook authors Mary Taylor Simeti, Vincent Schiavelli, and several others. They suggest that the name has nothing to do with parmigiano cheese or Parma the city, but derives from the Sicilian palmigiana not parmigiana, meaning shutters, the louvered panes of shutters or palm-thatched roofs that the layered eggplant slices are meant to resemble. Variations made with breaded meat cutlets, such as veal and chicken, have been popularized in other countries, usually in areas of Italian immigration. In the United States and Canada, veal parmigiana or chicken parmigiana is often served as an entree, and sometimes is served as a submarine sandwich. It is also popular with a side of or on top of pasta. Diced onions or green bell peppers, sauteed or raw, are sometimes added. A similar veal dish is known in Italian as Cotolette alla Bolognese, however, traditional Italian recipes exclude tomato sauce from the dish. Costelette Parmigiana is another related veal dish, however, in Italy it is generally served without sauce or cheese. In Argentina and in other neighboring South American countries, veal or chicken parmigiana is topped with ham and served with French fries. It is known as Milanese a la Napolitano. If the dish is topped with a fried egg, then it is known as a súper milanesa or suprema napolitana. The origin of the dish was the Napoli restaurant in Buenos Aires during the 1940s. 
I like finding out the history of Parmigiana dishes but I’d rather eat them.

Grazie,Joe

 



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop
Little Remains the Same / Poco rimane lo stesso   
                                                                                   

Ciao Amici,     

From time to time I enjoy reading The Roseto Story by John G.Bruhn and Stewart Wolf. The following is taken from the book. In order to access the degree of cohesiveness in families they incorporated a family solidarity index. This demonstrates the highly cohesive nature of the community of Roseto in 1964. Now as I drive down Garibaldi little remains the same; there is nobody left.

Subject is living with spouse     74%
Subject is of the same ethnicity as spouse     74%
Subject is of the same religion as spouse    77%
Subject has lived in Roseto all of life      55%
Spouse has lived in Roseto all of Life     42%
Children living with parents                        69%
Subject and Spouse spend time with others   19%
All Children live at home                      62%
Children are married to Italians    58%
Subject turns to family with problems          70%
All siblings live in Roseto 17%
Subjects attend family reunions 34%

America can learn from our little town that at that time our town’s social solidarity kinship and emotional security was a way to share our lives with one another to form a warmhearted community that supported one another .

 È facile per dimezzare il pomodoro dove c'è l'amore.

It's easy to halve the tomato where there's love.

Grazie,

Joe

 



Growing up in the Butcher
New Year’s Eve Spaghetti at Midnight / Spaghetti della Vigilia Degli Anni Nuovo a Mezzanotte

Ciao Amici,

As each year comes to an end, I am reminded of the time I asked Grandmom what she and Grandpop did for New Year’s Eve back in the day. She said Roseto was famous for their “Spaghetti Tradition at Midnight.”  Ladies and Gentlemen would all go to their social club in the early evening on New Year’s Eve. They would play cards, drink and have their antipasto. Everyone took pleasure in the olives, roasted peppers, all the good homemade Capicola, Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, aged casa cavola cheese and of course, as always, good bread along with the home made wine.

Around 10 pm the ladies would leave and go home to make their homemade spaghetti for the rest of the evening’s festivity. The men remained at the club to warm the Sunday gravy [gravy because the red sauce contained meatballs, sausage, pork ribs, beef braciole]. Then they got the large pots of bo