Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Cooking on the Grill Cottura sulla Griglia


Ciao Amici ,


Oh how we loved cooking al fresco ( outside ) this time of the year. There is a saying: Un Uomo che ha carne cerca fuoco (a man who has meat seeks fire.) And my Grandfather and Father would seek out the grill! I liked to help them start the charcoal fire; no gas grill here. Our patio was situated under the fig tree and surrounded with roses climbing the lattice and a tin roof. My Grandfather’s cousin  Russo ( Red )  Trigiani came to visit us from Canada one Spring and Grandpop sliced  thin black angus round steaks on the slicer. As long as you keep eating I will keep on slicing Grandpop declared. When the coals were finally ready the cooking began.  A little olive oil, salt & pepper rubbed onto the meat. Siz, siz sizzle as the steaks hit the grill; in a moment they were turned over and five or six slices were slipped into the fresh bread. The smile on Grandpop’s face stretched from ear to ear as he watched his cousins mangia (chow down)  as they were enjoying those steak sangwiches. Many pounds and loaves of bread later; they reached their limit and thanked him for such great food. The best ingredients, the simple cooking method, and love what sapore (flavor).


     Another great dish we enjoyed grilling was lamb chops. My Dad tells the story about the time they grilled  lamb chops for everyone and although my brothers and I were quite young at the time; Dad figured we would eat two or three chops each. But as we sat at the picnic table to eat, we hollered for more. They were so amazed and went up stairs into the shop’s walk-in refrigerator for more. From that day on lamb chops became a favorite and we enjoyed them when we got together even after we moved out on our own. We always had a great variety of meats to be enjoyed on the grill. Like everyone else we had the hotdogs and hamburgers. In addition we had ring bologna, chicken, and our homemade sausage, which was followed by a steak. Grandmom always said to cook more, just in case someone would stop by.


     As I light my grill at night to cook at home and  as the smoke rises,  I look up at the sky and think; I wish the aroma of these steaks  finds a way up  to my grandparents  so they will know they taught me well .  A little olive oil, salt & pepper rubbed onto the meat. Siz, siz, sizzle as the steak hit the grill and in a moment I slipit  intosime  fresh bread.


Mostrare ospitalita e aver parte nella tavola degli angel / To show hospitality is to share in the banquet of angels


Best Regards / Con cordiali saluti



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop:     I am Italian /American By Angelo Bianchi Esq.


I am an Italian American. My roots are deep in 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 soil. My thoughts have been recorded 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 Christoforo Columbo. I am Giovanni 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. I am Enrico Tonti, 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 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 and, yes, an Italian American.

I am an Italian American. I am Colonel Francesco Virgo – 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 Alessandro Malaspina – I mapped the Pacific from Mexico to Alaska and to the Philippines. I am Giacomo Beltrami, the discoverer of the Mississippi River in 1823. I am Constantino Brumidi. They called me the Michelangelo of America – I created the dome of the United States capitol. I am A. P. Gianni – in 1904, in San Francisco, I founded the Bank of Italy, now known as the Bank of America, the largest financial institution in the world. I am Enrico Fermi, father of nuclear science in America. I am John Basilone of New Jersey, the first enlisted man to win the Medal of Honor in World War II.

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 home maker and the breadwinner in 10,000 communities.

I am an American without stint of reservation, loving this land as only one who understands history, its agonies and its triumphs; and I can love and serve as fully as any other American. I will stand in support of this nation's freedom and promise against all foes. My heritage has dedicated me to this nation. I am proud of my FULL heritage and I shall remain worthy of it.


Con Cordiali Saluti, Joe

Growing Up in the Butcher Shop:    Macaroni Shapes

                                                            Forme del Maccherone



Ciao Amici,


     One area in the store that I was fascinated with while growing up in the butcher shop was the dry macaroni section. Sometimes Grandmom or Aunt Thersa would let me help stock the shelves. Learning about  the combination of pasta and what tasty sauce went with it is almost a science in itself . But there are some simple rules that Grandmom would follow. The long dried pasta like spaghetti were matched with thiner sauces and the thicker macaroni tubes where paired with the  heavier meat gravies and also with vegetables. For the heartier soups like Minestrone they used the orzo (rice shaped), semi di melon (melon seed), tubetti ( small tubes) and ditalini (small thimbles). Gomito (elbows) and ditali (thimble) shapes were used in Pasta Fagioli or Con Piselli (with peas). There are the soup cuts like anellini (the smallest ring), the acini de pepe (peppercorns) and pastina (tiny dough) which are mainly used in broth.

     My three daughters loved to go to Great Nana‘s to enjoy her Pastina, the baby pasta. With my daughter Julia’s baby shower this past week; I recall some twenty  years ago when Julia was only 5 years old; her great grandmother Teodora would spend time knitting blankets. I asked her why she was knitting so many and she said, “ One day  Julia may have a baby and she can have this blanket. Then looking back with this handmade gift with love you can remember me.”  We can never forget you and your love. With all of todays technology  Julia  recorded  the baby’s heartbeat  and  as I heard  it for the first time, suddenly I could feel my heart beat again.



Un dono con un'espressione del genere è un duplice presente.

A gift with a kind countenance is a double present.