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Growing up in the Butcher:  Mother’s Day / La Festa Della Mamma

Ciao Amici,

     Like most feast days in Italy, Mother’s Day can be traced back to ancient Rome. In May, a whole week is set aside to celebrate and honor the Goddess Juno, whose name means forza vitale [vital force] which is a great way to describe Italian Mothers.

Juno is the Goddess of Motherhood and Marriage. As the Roman tradition believes; to ensure a good marriage and fertility, it is important to marry in June. Tradition continues in Italy to wed in the month of Juno.

     Mother’s Day in Italy, was celebrated for the first time on May 12, 1957 in the city of Assisi. The Rev. Otello Migliosi, a parish Priest of the Tordibetto Church, initiated the first Mother’s Day celebration. It was so successful that the following year it was adopted throughout Italy, where it has been celebrated on the second Sunday in May ever since.

     In modern day Italy, Mother’s Day is celebrated with great zeal and passion.

Red heart shaped cakes, along with carnations and roses are favorites of mothers in Italy.

We owe a lot to our Mothers, who, after suffering with pain and difficulties beyond imagination, not only brought us into the world, but also brought us up while under going even more hardships. Had Mothers not been loyal to their duties, no child in this world would have been able to have a happy and successful life. In return for this, they just demand love and respect. Mother’s Day has spread throughout the world to honor mothers and to make them feel special and thanked for their matchless role in one’s life.

     Growing up in the butcher shop, when ever we’d ask Mom and Grandmom what they wanted for Mother’s Day they would simply say,  “We want to make the homemades! What makes us happy is cooking for you and eating together around the dinner table as a family.”

 

Miss you Mom, I love you!

 

“Nessuno dono a Sua madre può uguagliarla mai dono a Lei- vita"

“No gift to your mother can ever equal her gift to you - life"


Con cordiali saluti,

Joe 



Growing up in the Butcher Shop:  Sharpening the Knives / Aguzzare I Coltelli

Ciao Amici,

     One of the chores Grandpop did every week was sharpen the knives for the butcher shop and slaughter house. Andiamo coltivare aguzzare i coltelli [Let's go to the farm to sharpen the knives.] As we drove down Garibaldi Avenue the businesses lined the street one by one; blouse mills, bakeries, gas stations,  the pharmacy, general stores,  the hotel and candy stores. Many of the establishments were like ours,  a place of business connected to the owners’ home. Upon reaching the end of Garibaldi we made a left up North Garlibaldi which was the transition from urban to rural. At the farm, Grandpop would let me help him feed the animals. I would go up in the hay loft and drop the hay down for the steers or fill their bins with corn feed. We had an old bathtub that I filled with water so the steers could have a drink. People ask me how I can work seven days a week; I guess I learned at an early age that the farm animals need to be tended to every day.

      A sharp knife is crucial for safety and speed in the butcher shop and the kill floor. Grandpop had a large stone wheel that had a trough with water to cool the stone so the knives would not be ruined. As the machine was turned on, I would hand the knives to Grandpop and he would hold them at such an angle that he would turn the knives into razors. Small boning knives, long thin knives for filleting, long saber-like knives to cut steaks and large meat cleavers to chop bones. All were sharpened on the stone. To fine-tune them more he would use the steel. To make sure those knives were to his liking, he would check them by shaving the hair off his arm.  “Now that is what I call sharp!”, he would say.

"Se il coltello cade sul melone o il melone sul coltello, il melone soffre"

"Whether the knife falls on the melon or the melon on the knife, the melon suffers"

Con cordiali saluti,

Joe 


Growing up in the Butcher Shop:   Easter / Pasqua


Ciao Amici,

      Pasqua [Easter] was a special time in the butcher shop.  After the fasting with meatless dishes and a fish diet during Lent, we could finally get back to business which was supplying meat to the community. Spring was here and lamb symbolized spring, as that was when lambs were ready for slaughter. Throughout the world, the most popular Easter symbol is the lamb and so it was in Roseto, Italy. It was a popular superstition that the devil, who could take the form of all other animals, was never allowed to appear in the shape of a lamb because of its religious symbolism. In the 7th century, the Benedictine Monks wrote a prayer for the blessing of lambs. A few hundred years later the Pope adopted it and a whole roasted lamb became the feature of the Pope's Easter Dinner. When it comes to eating lamb, most of us opt for the leg or chops but the old generation trend for nose to tail eating which encourages us all to be a little more adventurous with our choices. It is not just a fashionable way of cooking; the Rosetan’s embraced the concept of nose to tail eating long before it was given its identity.  The origins stem back to the belief that animals are sacred and so killing them to eat should be a respectful process, involving no wastage. And waste not they did. As a child helping in the slaughterhouse I saw first hand how absolutely nothing was wasted. Going into the walk-in refrigerator in the butcher shop, I could see how Grandpop prepared the livestock, it looked more like going to a biology class all waiting Grandmom and Grandpop per cucinare  [to cook]. The arrival of spring also meant the coming of the greens, dandelion greens that is, that special tonic that makes the spezzatta soup so good. So traditional it encompasses everything of what spring is, the spring lamb and the dandelion greens symbolize the freshness of spring, the egg signifying springtime and renewal. Another popular interpretation is that the egg is like the Roseto people: the hotter you make it for them, the tougher they get.  Sitting around the Easter Dinner table we all felt we made it through another bitter winter and then looked with optimism for the rest of the year.

 

Dalla Mia Famiglia Alla Vostra Buona Pasqua

From My Family To Yours Happy Easter


Growing up in the Butcher Shop      
Primavera Spring

 

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 countryside 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 backbones 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.



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 ,

      Pasqua [Easter] was a special time in the butcher shop.  After the fasting with meatless dishes and a fish diet during Lent, we could finally get back to business which was supplying meat to the community. Spring was here and lamb symbolized spring, as that was when lambs were ready for slaughter. Throughout the world the most popular Easter symbol is the lamb and so it was in Roseto, Italy. It was a popular superstition that the devil, who could take the form of all other animals, was never allowed to appear in the shape of a lamb because of its religious symbolism. In the 7 th century the Benedictine Monks wrote a prayer for the blessing of lambs. A few hundred years later the Pope adopted it and a whole roasted lamb became the feature of the Pope's Easter Dinner. When it comes to eating lamb, most of us opt for the leg or chops but the old generation trend for nose to tail eating which encourages us all to be a little more adventurous with our choices. It is not just a fashionable way of cooking; the Rosetan’s embraced the concept of nose to tail eating long before it was given its identity.  The origins stem back to the belief that animals are sacred and so killing them to eat should be a respectful process, involving no wastage. And waste not they did. As a child helping in the slaughter house I saw first hand how absolutely nothing was wasted. Going into the walk -in refrigerator in the butcher shop, I could see how Grandpop prepared the livestock, it looked more like going to a biology class  all waiting Grandmom and Grandpop per cucinare  [to cook]. The arrival of spring also meant the coming of the greens, dandelion greens that is, that special tonic that makes the spezzatta soup so good. So traditional it encompasses every thing of what spring is, the spring lamb and the  dandelion greens symbolize the freshness of spring, the egg signifying springtime and renewal. Another popular interpretation is that the egg is like the Roseto people: the hotter you make it for them, the tougher they get.  Sitting around the Easter Dinner table we all felt we made it though another bitter winter and then looked with optimism for the rest of the year.

 



Dalla Mia Famiglia Alla Vostra Buona Pasqua

From My Family To Yours Happy Easter

 

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 joining 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@ptd.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: Palm Pasta / Pasta del Palmo

Ciao Amici, 

     This week is Palm Sunday, a feast that falls on the Sunday before Easter. In many Christian churches, Palm Sunday is marked by the distribution of palm leaves [often tied into crosses] to its worshipers. According to the Gospel, Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem. The symbol of the donkey may be referred to the Eastern tradition that it is an animal of peace, versus the horse, which is the animal of war. Along with their religious traditions, the Rosetans brought their gastronomic traditions and on Palm Sunday that meant every one in Roseto ate the homemade palm pasta. I am not sure how the tradition started I am just glad it did. 

     When watching Grandmom make the homemade palms, it was like watching the conductor lead an orchestra. As she would get the large pasta board and place in on the table, the overture would begin. Durum wheat flour, with it’s high protein content, made the pasta have a  more chewy texture to remain  Al Dente [to the tooth] and not turn to polenta when dropped in the hot water. She would mound flour in the center of the board to make a well and add the eggs to the well. The eggs were beaten with a fork and from the top; flour was added a little at a time into the eggs until like magic the dough was formed. As a little child watching her knead the dough with her large and powerful arms, the dough had no chance but to form into a ball. Next she grabbed the rolling pin which was not like the little rolling pin a baker used to make pie crust. It resembled a baseball fungo bat that was as long as the board. Then with this baton flipping the dough back and forth, the entire board was covered with the dough. The pasta wheel cut the dough into strips to resemble ribbons. This was not done with any sign of labor, only with love, a smile and a gleam in her eye that only a grandmother could provide to her grandchildren

      As Grandpop stirred the Sunday Gravy and while the pasta awaited its destiny to be thown into the boiling  water, the finale of the “palm making opera”would end in a bowl  with some grated cheese and a family sitting and eating at the table together with much love, gusto and peace. Grazie Grandmom and Grandpop, we are proud to be walking in your footsteps. Fresh palms will be available for pickup on Saturday 04/04 or Sunday 04/05 order by noon Friday.

 

Una buona nonna vale cento insegnanti.

A good grandmother is worth a hundred teachers.

 

Con Cordiali Saluti,

Joe 



Growing up in the Butcher Shop:   ENCOURAGEMENT /  INCORAGGIAMENTO

     Ciao Amici,    

     As I see the geese fly over North Bangor it reminds why geese fly in “V” formation.  As each goose flaps its wings, it creates uplift for the bird immediately following. By doing this, the whole flock adds a certain percent greater flying range than if each bird flew on its own. When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to go it alone and quickly gets back into formation to take advantage of lifting power of the bird in front. When a goose gets tired it rotates back and another goose flies point. All the honking you hear encourages the geese up front to keep up to speed. Also when a goose gets wounded by gunshot, and falls out of formation, two other geese fall out with the injured goose and follow it down to lend help and protection. They stay with the fallen goose until it is able to fly or until it dies, then and only then do they fly out on their own, or with another formation to catch up with their group.

     It is essential to remember that teamwork happens inside and outside of business life when it is continually nurtured and encouraged. If we have as much sense as geese, we will stand by each other in difficult times, as well as when we are strong. In the days of yester year, the town of Roseto was like this with encouragement and support of family and friends. Times have changed and now people and some family do not give you encouragement but sadly too many go out of their way to try to hurt you! I can’t help but wonder what Grandmom and Grandpop would think?  They would probably say that we would do well to follow the example of the geese!

 

“When a fox preaches, take care of your geese.”

“Quando la volpe predica, prendersi cura delle vostre oche."

 

Con cordiali saluti,

Joe 

 

My book, “Growing up in the Butcher Shop“ is available at the shop or on our web page receive menu specials and our newsletter by joining 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@ptd.net  or call us 610-588-6991 Store Hours: 7 to 7 Seven Days a Week with Catering Anytime


Growing up in the Butcher:  Feast of St. Joseph / Festa di San Giuseppe

Ciao Amici ,

        Growing up in the butcher shop, I was fortunate to celebrate two birthday’s; one on July 29th  but also on March 19th, my patron saint, St. Joseph’s Feast Day. There is a saying that if you don’t have a relative or Goomba named Joseph you are probably not Italian. The name Joseph / Giuseppe has a special meaning to my family because my Mom’s Father was named Giuseppe and my Grandmother Teodora’s Brother and Grandfather was also named Giuseppe. I remember Grandmom and Mom as I came down the steps on that morning and them wishing me a happy St. Joseph’s Day. It filled me with ancestral pride. ”When you come home from school today we will have zeppoles waiting for you.”

      Our church, Our lady of Mt Carmel, is when we have our feast but for Sicilians, St. Joseph's Day is a big feast because in the Middle Ages, God, through St. Joseph's intercessions, saved the Sicilians from a very serious drought. So in his honor, the custom is for all to wear red, in the same way that green is worn on St. Patrick's Day. Today, after Mass [at least in parishes with large Italian populations], a big altar ["la tavola di San Giuse" or "St. Joseph's Table"] is laden with food contributed by everyone. Different Italian regions celebrate this day differently, but being the feast falls during Lent all involve special meatless foods: minestrone, pasta with breadcrumbs [the breadcrumbs symbolize the sawdust that would have covered the carpenter St. Joseph's floor], seafood, Sfinge di San Giuseppe, and, always, fava beans, which are considered "lucky" because during the drought, the fava thrived while other crops failed.

      In Italy, March 19 is also Father's Day. The table is three tiered to symbolize the Holy Trinity. St. Patrick used the clover leaf to symbolize the Holy Trinity. St. Joseph is also the patron saint of departing souls. It was March of 1969 when my Grandfather Philip was dying with no hope of survival with a final prayer, “Oh, Saint Joseph, I never weary of contemplating you, and Jesus asleep in your arms; I dare not approach while he reposes near your heart. Press him in my name, kiss his fine head for me, and ask him to return the kiss when I draw my dying breath.”
 
   Saint Joseph, patron of departing souls; pray for me. He was gone. The monument above my Grandfather’s grave is that of St. Joseph. 
 

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@ptd.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: St. Patrick / San Patrizio 
                      

Ciao Amici,      

            March 17th is the day we celebrate St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, who is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. Many may think that corned beef and cabbage was eaten in Ireland to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day but it was actually the Irish coming to America who made St. Patrick’s into a big holiday. Cooking what was once an expensive dish—corned beef and cabbage—at home, and eventually expanding it into multiple festivals, de rigeur green ties for politicians and at least one emerald-dyed river (naturally, in Chicago.) Instead of green, maybe look for yellow - a pat of Irish butter. Although most Americans are familiar with images of Ireland's rolling green hills, few realize that those hills are the secret to a deliciously buttery empire. On Ireland’s national feast day people stay at home, eat regular Irish food and perhaps drink a little extra to celebrate the day. Here are some different Irish foods you might find Irish eating on Paddies Day (definitely not called St. Patties Day), it’s pretty common knowledge that the Irish make great bread, which is so easy to bake, too. Home-made soda bread is a staple in Ireland. Brown soda bread is made with whole-wheat flour, buttermilk and bread soda and white soda bread is made with white flour. It’s traditionally made into a round loaf with a cross etched in the center to keep the fairies out! A traditional Sunday roast dinner is very popular in Ireland. The roast meat is served with roasted potatoes, peas, carrots, and lashings of gravy. Nothing will taste as good as your Mammy’s roast dinner. They’re also really handy with a potato like the Dublin Coddle which is an Irish, one-pot collaboration of bacon, pork sausage, potatoes and onions.  Colcannon it’s a mixture of creamy mashed potatoes and usually kale or cabbage. Or perhaps they would make an Irish stew made with beef or lamb and carrots and potatoes. Hopefully I will not have to try this recipe because St. Patrick’s Day can be a day of heavy drinking, and the crisp sandwich is a well-known hangover cure. It’s essentially some Irish potato chips sandwiched between two slices of buttered white bread. Another cure for hangovers is a ‘flat 7Up’ which is essentially some 7Up with a splash hot water. It’s widely believed a ‘flat 7Up’ can cure almost anything. Just like spaghetti and meatballs are an Italian American creation that I enjoy; I shall also enjoy the Irish American creation corned beef and cabbage. Top ‘O the Mornin…Ciao my friends!

 

Con Cordiali Saluti, Joe

J. DeFranco and Daughters Catering & Deli

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:    Eggs / Uova

 

Ciao Amici,

     Eggs were on the menu through out the year but especially so during Lent. While growing up in the butcher shop; there was a chicken coup on the farm where we got our eggs. We have a recipe for eggs that are cooked with peas and onions and also eggs that are made with peppers which sometimes we put into bread to make a sandwich (panino), or in their slang, a ”sang- witch”. One of the great things about eggs is that you can make a meal in a hurry.  My grandmother made a dish called a frittata which was like an omelet.  It could be simple like sautéing onions or scallions and then adding the eggs and cheese or sometime she would make it heartier by adding broccoli, spinach, mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan and pecorino. It was cooked on top of the stove and then baked in the oven. I remember when she offered it to a friend who was painting at the house, it was so filling that he had to nap a little before starting to paint again.  I loved watching her make a dish called occhi del lupo (wolf eyes). She simmered tomato sauce on the stove and then broke whole eggs into the sauce, as the eggs would poach, they’d rise to the top. As Grandmom would plate the meal the eggs stayed whole and then you’d proceed to inzuppi il pane (dunk the bread) and break the eggs and the yolk would be released in the sauce. Sometimes when things did not turn out right you would hear “a fare uovo“, go lay an egg.

 

Omelets are not made without breaking eggs

Frittata non è fatto senza uova della rottura

Best Regards / Con cordiali saluti

Joe


Growing Up in the Butcher Shop:  “Carne vale” / “Farewell to Meat”

Ciao Amici,

     Tuesday of this week marks the day before Ash Wednesday. This day is referred to as either Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras or as we Italian /Americans call it; Carnavale. The origins of the name is disputed. The variety of dialects in Italian suggest the name comes from the Italian “carne levare” (to remove meat), since meat is prohibited during Lent. In a more distant time it was forbidden not just on Friday but for the entire season of Lent. The phrase “Carrus Navalis”(ship cart), a Roman Festival where a figure of Isis, a Goddess of motherhood, magic and fertility was carried to the sea shore to bless the start of the sailing time of year. The festival consisted of a parade with masks and a subsequent adorned wooden boat, that which replicates the modern floats in today’s  Mardi Gras Parades.

      Our “Carnevale Dinner” begins with the Antipasto. We look forward to homemade Cavatelli in gravy (red sauce), followed by the gravy meat (also in red sauce), roasted chicken and potatoes. Our salad follows the end of the meal. Fresh fruit in wine is then brought to the table to savor with nuts to crack open. Typical dessert for this occasion is “Cavazoon” (pants), made with sweetened ricotta, a turnover  that looks like a calzone.

     Traditionally there are forty days in Lent which are marked by fasting, both from foods and festivities, and by other acts of penance. The three traditional practices to be taken up with renewed vigor during Lent are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Today, some people give up a vice of their own, add something that will bring them closer to God, and often give the time or money spent doing that to charitable purposes or organizations.

 

"Gente certamente non ha perso alcuna della fede che abbiamo nel carnevale."

“We certainly haven’t lost any of the faith we have in the carnival.”


Pace e` con lei (Peace be with you)

Joe


Growing up in the Butcher: Wedge ,Torpedo, Submarine, Hoagie, Hero or Grinder

 

Ciao Amici,    

     The origins of these “sangwitch” names always fascinates me. For instance, the “Submarine” sandwich, which was created at a restaurant in Boston at the beginning of World War1, was named to entice the large number of Navy servicemen stationed at the Charlestown Navy Yard. The bread was baked to look like the hull of a submarine. Another presumption is that an Italian immigrant, Dominic Conti who came to New York in the early 1900’s named it after seeing a recovered submarine. Around 1910 he started his own grocery store in Paterson N.J. where he sold traditional Italian sandwiches. His recipe came with him from Italy. It was made with a long crusted roll filled with cold cuts, topped with lettuce, tomatoes, peppers, onions, oil, vinegar, Italian spices and herbs. It was built with the cheese on the bottom of the bread and ended with cheese at the top to keep the bread from getting soggy,    The “wedge” is one of the stranger sub sandwich terms because of two factors. First, the term is used only in two very specific regions, and secondly, its name implies a triangular wedge shape when the sub is decidedly not wedge-shaped.There are explanations, although as with most of these monikers, none of those explanations can be 100 percent proved. The wedge shape might come from the sandwich being halved diagonally or because a wedge of the bread’s top half is removed to make room for fixings. Or, geometry might not play a role at all, and “wedge” simply may be short for “sandwich.” It’s believed that a Yonkers deli owner coined the term, which would also account for the wedge’s regional domain there.In nearby Fairfield County, Connecticut, the name speaks to the sandwich’s two “wedges” of bread.The nickname “torpedo” is much more clear-cut than the “wedge.” The shape of the bread that the sandwich is on, well, looks like a torpedo.  For some reason, the term “torpedo” never spread past New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. The name “Hoagie” was created in the Philadelphia area and again there is more then one theory. One speculation is that Italians working at a shipyard known as Hog Island, put various meats and cheese between two slices of bread, this became known as the ”Hog Island “ sandwich which was shortened  to “Hoggie”, and then “Hoagie.” Another explanation says that the sandwich was created by street vendors called “Hokey Pokey Men.” When the opera H.M.S. Pinafore opened in 1879, bakeries made a long loaf called a pinafore. The commercial acting “Hokey –Pokey Men” sliced the loaf in half , stuffed it with antipasto salad, meats and cheese, and the worlds first “Hoagie” was sold. Yet another notion says the word came around in the late 19th century in South Philly, when  “on the hoke”  was a slang used to describe a poor person. Deli owners would give away end pieces of cheese & meat on bread known as a “hokie” but the immigrants pronounced it “hoagie.”

     The term “Hero” comes from New York and generally has Italian flavor, like Meatball, Eggplant or Chicken Parmigiana Hero. A “Grinder” is called so because it is a toasted sandwich and requires a lot of chewing to eat the hard toasted crust.  Finally the “Sangwitch” is what many of us from Roseto, PA refer to a sandwich. I like talking about sangwitches but I would prefer to make them, ah yes, and mangiare uno!

 

"Vita è come un panino- i più che aggiunge a lui, il migliore diviene."

“Life is like a sandwich - the more you add to it, the better it becomes.”

Cordiali saluti,

Joe


Growing up in the Butcher Shop: Pizza Pie / Torta della Pizza

 

Ciao Amici,

     On some Fridays and special occasions Mom and Grandmom would make pizza. It was not the normal pizza you would find at Ruldofo’s. They started by making there own dough. Simple ingredients of:  flour, water, yeast and olive oil.  They had a set of blue enamel pans that they cooked them in. They always began by greasing the pans with olive oil. The dough had a taste almost like pizza frite.  Mom did not like cheese so she made some pizzas like they did in Roseto Valfatore, Italy with the fresh tomato which was squeezed (ha spremuto) on top, chopped onions and then sprinkled with oregano, salt, pepper and more olive oil. The pizza would come out with an orange color because the tomato juice would cook right into the dough. Grand mom liked to make stuffed pizzas with different fillings. One style she stuffed with sautéed onions, Italian pitted olives and anchovies. Another variety she made was with potatoes and eggs. On any day except Friday; they would be stuffed with sausage & peppers.

     As I’d walk through the door on a Friday, the entire house had the enticing aroma of the pizza baking in the oven. We’d usually have the pizza first and then have a meatless macaroni dish like pasta and peas or with beans or ceci. Although our meal began with the pizza, it usually carried over for us to enjoy with the macaroni instead of the bread. I continue to it the same way. Give us a call to order. Like Grandmom would say, “You don’t know what you are missing unless you try.”


With onions and potatoes in the garden no one will die of hunger

Con  Cipolle e Patate dentro l’orto,mai di fame nessuno e’ morto

 

Grazie,

Joe


J. DeFranco and Daughters Catering & Deli

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@ptd.net.net

Or call us 610-588-6991

Store Hours: 7 to 7 Seven Days a Week with Catering Anytime or by Appointment




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: Lombardi Trophy

Ciao Amici,

      I was ten years old  when the first Super Bowl took place on January 15, 1967, when the Green Bay Packers of the NFL, coached by Vince Lombardi, took on the Kansas City Chiefs of the AFL. On that Sunday we had the usual Sunday lunch of macaroni, followed by the Sunday Meat Ravu (gravy) of meat balls, our homemade sausage, Beef Braciola, pork ribs, lamb shank and whatever other meat Grandpop or Grandmom decided to use. After a little break the insalata (salad) and of course Matt or Fonzie LeDonne’s bread was on the table. The kickoff was at 4:15. Grandpop was not a huge football fan, but he was a huge Vince Lombardi fan. The pride of a fellow Italian American could be seen in his eyes. Vince’s father Enrico was a butcher just like grandpop was. There was no doubt who we were rooting for. The Packers won 35-10 in that first Super Bowl; Grandpop was all smiles when he had espresso that evening there was never any doubt who would win. Initially the Super Bowl trophy was just called the World Professional Football Championship Trophy. It remained that way until 1970, when it was renamed the Vince Lombardi Trophy, in honor of the coach who died suddenly from cancer in September of 1970. So why is the trophy given to the Super Bowl winner called the Vince Lombardi Trophy? Again, Lombardi and his Packers won the first two Super Bowls. In those wins, the Packers outscored their two opponents by a 68-24 margin. But it is much more than that. Lombardi always played to win—no matter if it was the preseason, regular season or postseason. Lombardi had a .728 winning percentage in the regular season during his time as a head coach in the NFL, which includes the 1969 season with the Washington Redskins (that season was Washington's first winning season in 13 years, by the way).In the preseason during his career, Lombardi had an even better .840 winning percentage by winning 42 out of 50 games. But it was the postseason where Lombardi really stood out. Lombardi was 9-1, or a .900 winning percentage, plus five NFL titles, including the first two Super Bowls. Grandpop and Grandmom believed in this quote by Vince Lombardi…



Il prezzo del successo è il duro lavoro, la dedizione al lavoro a portata di mano e la determinazione che se vinciamo o perdiamo, abbiamo applicato il meglio di noi stessi al compito da svolgere."

 

 The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.”



Grazie,

 Joe


Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: Italian Wedding Soup 

 Ciao Amici, 

     Growing up in the butcher shop this time of year, Grandmom would always be making soup. The butcher shop always had beef, veal and chicken bones to make homemade stock; the base for all meat soups. Grandmom would roast the bones to add more flavor to the stock.  She would always have frozen yellow tomatoes in the freezer, they were one of her secrets to give the chicken stock a lovely yellow color. One soup she made was Wedding Soup, which as a kid, I would wonder why she was making wedding soup? No one is getting married today, no one’s going to do the Tarantella. After doing some research, the term "wedding soup" comes from the Italian language phrase "minestra maritata" ("married soup"), which is a reference to the flavor produced by the combination/"marriage" of greens and the meat. The minestra maritata recipe is also prepared by the families of Lazio and Campania. Some form of minestra maritata was long popular in Toledo, Spain, before pasta became an affordable commodity to most Spaniards. The modern wedding soup is quite a bit lighter than the old Spanish form, which contained more meats than just the meatballs of modern Italian-American versions. Wedding soup consists of  green vegetables  (usually endive and escarole or endive Swiss chard, , kale, and/or spinach) and meat (usually meatballs and/or sausage, the latter sometimes made of chicken and containing Italian parsley and pecorino cheese) in a clear chicken-based broth. Wedding soup sometimes contains pasta (usually cavatelli, fusilli, acini di pepe, pastina, orzo, etc.), celery ,onions ,carrots, garlic and grated pecorino cheese.



"Le preoccupazioni vanno meglio con la zuppa e poi con l'esterno."

Worries go down better with soup then with out. 

 - Jewish proverb

 

Grazie,

 Joe


Growing up in the Butcher Shop: The Fable of the Hot Dog Vendor

 

Ciao Amici,

     Story telling was always a part of growing up with my grandparents. A story that they would have enjoyed is one my tomato product producer, Dino Corteopassi sent me.

     Once upon a time there was a young immigrant looking to get ahead. Times were tough and work was scarce and as he walked home one evening he noticed how hungry he was. What he would not give for a great hot dog. All at once it hit him this would be a great spot to sell hot dogs. So after saving part of his wages, he was able to buy a used hand cart, a small stove, six of the best hotdogs, six of the freshest buns, and with the rest of the money he bought the best condiments he could buy.

      On the first day he sold all six hot dogs. On the next day he reinvested and bought enough to make 12 hot dogs. That evening, yesterday’s six customers returned bringing 6 friends. The business grew and grew. Time passed and the man now had a family.  Business had been good and the cart was replaced with a store front. He saved enough money to send his son to college. Upon returning from college he asked his son what he had learned. There is a recession coming, times are going to be tough. It was true that sales have leveled off but the regular customers always came back to enjoy the best hot dogs served on the freshest buns and best condiments money could by. So, the father asked what would this recession do to our business. Well Dad, the national chains get lean and mean. The father really did not see the connection but being that the son had gone to college he reluctantly agreed. So the son proceeded to haggle with the discount butcher to buy hot dogs that didn’t taste as good but no one would know the difference, then he proceeded to do the same with the buns and condiments; saving money by reducing the quality. Business began to slow down. It was imperceptible at first that some of his regulars stopped coming. As business declined the son said we need to reduce prices. This did not help bring back the regulars. The son then decided to get out of the family business and work with a national chain.

     The hard working parents had saved enough money, [during the successful years] to retire. The father decided to sell the business. ..... To a hard working immigrant with the novel idea -why not sell really good hot dogs to people like himself who appreciated good food and this way they would come back to his stand day after day after day.

 

Una volta lo dice va adattare a secondo, che è quello che accade a Lei in vita, trovo.

- John F. Kennedy

Once you say you're going to settle for second, that's what happens to you in life, I find.

- John F. Kennedy

 

Cordiali saluti,

Joe

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@ptd.net  or call us 610-588-6991 Store Hours: 7 to 7 Seven Days a Week with Catering Anytime or by Appointment


Growing up in the Butcher:  Pane Cotto  e Ciambotto / Cooked Bread

 

Ciao Amici,                            

       When the north wind begins to blow I am reminded of the winter meals Grandmom made. One of our family’s favorite in winter was pane cotto [cooked bread]. This meal was very thrifty and satisfying all at the same time. You start with day old good Italian bread. Matt’s 5 cent loaf was the best don’t bother with Amedigan bread, it will disintegrate.  Always start with a pot of boiling water, then add salt. Cut your bread and place it in your “skull di macaroon” [colander] into the sink to await its bath. Put the broccoli rabe in the boiling water. In a large frying pan add your favorite olive oil then garlic and sauté until golden. Sometimes Grandmom would also use pancetta, gancuile, bacon or salt pork in this recipe for added richness. Once the broccoli is cooked and strained in the colander, then add and mix in the bread. Serve onto a platter and add the sautéed olive oil and garlic. Ah, what humble substance for a stick to your ribs kind of meal. They also enjoyed making a similar dish called Ciambotto. The same process but the ingredients were potatoes, cabbage, cannellini beans and the bread.

      As a youngster eating this I would remember having to wait at the dinner table to get up because of the actual weight of the meal. When I finally stood up to leave the table I’d see  the smiles and laughter of Grandmom and Grandpop saying, “What is wrong Josie, are you full?”  I’d think to myself, “Next time I’ll eat slower.” But next time the same thing would happen because it was so good.  Every meal, sitting around the dinner table, I could see that familiar look in their eyes; the look of love, gratitude, pride  and happiness of la familia [our family].

 

"Il problema di mangiare cibo italiano è di 5 o 6 giorni dopo sei affamato."

"The trouble with eating Italian food is that 5 or 6 days later you're hungry again."

~ George Miller, British writer

 

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@ptd.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:  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 homemade 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:    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 overheard 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 than 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 crowbar 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 nativity display. Back then, more people worshiped God and not celebrities. This was originally 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 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 is 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, cannellini 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: Thanksgiving / Cornucopia

Ciao Amici,

         One of the most recognizable symbols of Thanksgiving is the cornucopia, also known as the horn of plenty. It is a decorative motif originating in Greece that symbolizes abundance. The original was a curved goats horn spilling over with fruit & grain. Like many American holidays similar to the Forth of July and Labor Day, my grandparents embraced Thanksgiving like many Italian Americans by encompassing what was important to them which was family, religion [giving thanks] and food. Grandmom and Grandpop were proud of their Thanksgiving table; abbondanza they would say!

     The antipasto and macaroni could wait until Sunday because the Thanksgiving menu was all American except  for the Italian sausage in the stuffing and the Italian chestnuts roasting in the oven. It was probably the only time a soft roll was preferred. What I loved so much was the wonderful arouma of the turkey roasting and the pies baking.  I remember all the hussle and bussle with my Mother, Grandmother and Aunt Theresa in the kitchen cooking that fabulous dinner. I  liked  to tease them by asking how much longer till we eat. That’s when they gave me an activity like setting the table or putting the bread in the basket so I would get out of their way.

      As all the food was finally placed on the table and everyone was seated, I would look at my Grandfather and see how proud and happy he was that we were all together with him giving thanks.   I did not really know the hard times he had to live though as a poor Italian immigrant; however I soon learned to realize why his eyes sparkled and his smile was so wide …

 

Happy Thanksgiving to all ,

 

       Joe & Joelene

 

Gratitudine è una qualità simile a elettricità: deve essere prodotto e ha licenziato ed usato su in ordine esistere a tutto.

Gratitude is a quality similar to electricity: it must be produced and discharged and used up in order to exist at all.

~William Faulkner


J. DeFranco and Daughters Catering & Deli         

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Growing up in the Butcher:  Roses to Rust

Ciao Amici,   

     (first published 09-09-2012)

 This past week some of my customers told us about vandalism taking place in our area. Some experienced their ceramic birds and displays smashed onto their concrete patio for no reason. Three other customers had equipment stolen from their garages. What has happened in our community and throughout our country?  As time goes by, it is heartrending to see such lack of respect to our fellow man; even more so in our neighborhood. A complete breakdown of basic values or in other words no responsibility for what you do.

     There was vandalism and robbery in the 50’s and 60’s when I was growing up but not to the extent we see today. We didn’t bother to lock the house or our cars which was the norm and not unusual. Our neighbors sat out on their porches and were aware of anything suspicious going on. The towns folk were closely knit and basically everyone knew what you where doing and where you where going.

      In the seventies our home was broken into and our neighbor across the street saw who it was. This person was discovered the next day and the following month he joined the Army. What made it so disappointing was that he was someone we knew and was working for our friend who was painting our house!

     Today as I get out of my truck to drop off groceries for Mom, I look around and miss those who sat on their porches. Gone are the eyes that smiled and took watch over our neighborhood. Many porches are closed and the rocking chairs are put away. Sometimes I believe that the absence of businesses in our town which have been replaced with housing rentals has a bit to do with this situation. It seems as though now I see only houses not homes. This lack of care and attention has turned our roses into rust.

 

Lui quello avrà un fratello perfetto deve dimettere lui a rimanere senza un fratello

He that will have a perfect brother must resign himself to remaining brother less.

 

Cordiali saluti,

Joe

Growing Up in the Butcher Shop:  Columbus Day

Ciao Amici,

       As we celebrate Columbus Day, I wish to share with you some information about the food of Christopher Columbus’s home town Genova (Genoa).Genoa is Italy’s principal seaport located on the northwest coast of Italy in the region of Liguria, Genoa; which is famous for pesto. Grandmom would make her pesto at the end of the basil season. Pesto is made with basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmigiana cheese. Before the food processor existed, the tool they used was the marble mortar and wooden pestle (mortaio e pestello) the word pesto is the contracted past participle of  pestâ ("to pound, to crush"), in reference to the sauce's crushed herbs and garlic. After the crushing of the herbs; cheese and olive oil is added to make the sauce. The macaroni shape they used is trenette,   which is similar to mafalda (ribbons) but thinner in width. It is slightly wider than ¼ inch and has a rippled edge. Sometimes green beans and potatoes are added with the macaroni to make the classic Pesto alla Genovese. Another dish from Genoa that Grandpop would make was Cima alla Genovese; a veal breast stuffed with sweetbreads, bread, eggs, cheese and parsley.  The aroma of this dish would put a trance on you that would lead you to the kitchen to take a peak in the oven. And as child I was constantly asking,”Is it time to eat yet?”

     Ravioli may have been invented in Genoa. Sailors did not want food to go to waste on the boat so they ground up their leftover dinner and placed the ingredients inside pasta dough to preserve it.  The ravioli in Genoa is meat ravioli made with ground pork, veal, spinach, parmesan cheese, and egg. For the most part our family only makes them with ricotta. Sometimes in the winter Grandmom would take some pesto out and cook us a dinner that brought us back to the summer garden and of course, the basil plant. 

 

“Per prevalere di sopra tutti ostacoli e distrazioni, uno non mancherà di arrivare alla sua meta eletta o destinazione.” 

Cristoforo Colombo

 

“By prevailing over all obstacles and distractions, one will not fail to arrive at his chosen goal or destination.”

Christopher Columbus


Grazie,

Joe


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:  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.


Growing Up in the Butcher Shop:  Where Have All the Fig Trees Gone?

My adaptation of Peter, Paul & Mary’s Where have all the flowers gone.

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 you can’t turn back the hands of time?
Oh, when will we ever learn life is short?

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 you can’t turn back the hands of time?
Oh, when will we ever learn life is short?

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 too busy
Oh, when will we ever learn you can’t go turn back the hands of time?
Oh, when will we ever learn life is short?


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 you can’t turn back the hands of time?
Oh, when will we ever learn life is short?


Con Cordiali Saluti,

Joe


Growing up in the Butcher Shop: The Wooden Spoon - Il Cucchiaio di Legno

Ciao Amici,

     While growing up in the butcher shop, we had a certain respect for wooden spoons. On Sundays, the large pot of gravy was constantly stirred so the meatballs, pork ribs, beef braciole, sausage, pieces of veal and lamb would blend together and not stick to the bottom. “We can’t wait! “, we’d yell. Grandmom would say, “Ok, get some pane (bread)”, and with the wooden spoon place some in a small bowl. ”Go and foona ooh pane (dip the bread) in sauce.”  This would hold our appetite until the macaroni were ready.

     On Monday it was used to stir the onions, garlic, and celery that were frying in olive oil as a base to which the scarole (escarole) and rich chicken stock and beans were added to make the “Minestra”. In the springtime, Grandpop would sauté thin round steak with garlic, add asparagus, and then remove it from the pan. He’d fry an egg and place it on top of the beef. As he eliminated the oil and while adding the white wine and beef stock, he would say, “Josie, veda (see) using the wooden spoon gets all the bits that stick to the pan; that’s where the flavor is!”

      My Grandparent’s cucina was one of the finest cooking schools to learn from because they were the greatest teachers to gain knowledge from since they had a passion for cooking and eating.

     On occasion, as we were running in the house and starting to misbehave and even after some warnings, we would see the wooden spoon in a different light and start behaving again.

 

Maze e “panelle” fanno I figli Belli :”panelle senzamazze fannii figli pazzi

Cuffs and goodies bring forth well behaved children .but goodies without cuffs produce unruly children

Spare the rod and spoil the child.

 

Have any old pictures of business in Roseto? Please send them to us.

Grazie,

Joe

J. DeFranco & Daughters Catering & Deli

Email portipasto@ptd.net

www.jdefrancoanddaughters.com


Growing up in the Butcher Shop:  First Day of School / Primo Giorno di Scuola

Ciao Amici,

     This week school starts and  it  brought back memories of myself , my children and grandchildren starting school. It was such a different world back then, we walked to school as did the entire neighborhood. It was more like a procession then a walk. I can remember all of us in the 100 block of Garibaldi  Avenue starting at the top across from the church to Casiano’s, Matt Giovannni the barber, Nick Falcone the tailor, Anna Rosato’s hair salon, Mary Bert Cannova’s Luncheonette, Jack Dotto’s Barroom, Leonard Castelucci the shoemaker, Albert Ronco Siding, Bozzutto, Catalina, Romano, Farole, Finelli, Farole ,Renaldo, Coppalella, Sitongia, Trigani’s Store, Peters, Ruggiero, the Greek barber, Palma Giaquinto’s Shop, Zambone, Romano Ronco’s Pharmacy  and then up the street Pinto’s, Stampone, Roseto  Legion, Marconi Club, Connie Blouse, Sia Anton DeFranco, Stampone’s Spaghetti House, Roseto  Post Office, Aversano, Hildabrant, Communale, our butcher shop, Camelleitti, Capozzolo, Di Pierro. Martocci, Salamone  and Molle, just to name a few.

      Starting my first day of school there were so many of us who were friends that we knew that it was only a natural extension of growing up. Where as today grandchildren  rides a bus and I drove my children to school. As we walked to school we felt secure because most of us had brothers, sisters or cousins that were there before us so that we could feel secure in knowing that we would be protected. We could go home for lunch and then rush back for recess. I enjoyed listening to Tazio ask the same questions I would have asked, that is when is lunch and when is recess. As he waited for the bus other children from the neighborhood arrived I came to realize how no one really knows each other any more. Times change but when I saw Tazio after school I asked how he liked school, and he said, “Pappa Nonno, it was AMAZING!” That is all I had to hear to know he will be fine.

"Siamo sempre la stessa età all'interno."

“We are always the same age inside." Gertrude Stein

 

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@ptd.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: 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

 
J. DeFranco and Daughters Catering & Deli 

To receive menu specials and our newsletter Join our mailing list at our WEB PAGE
www.JDeFrancoandDaughters.comClick on Mailing List and enter your e-mail. Send us your Roseto stories, recipes and comments to e-mail: portipasto@ptd.net or call us 610-588-6991 Store Hours: 7 to 7 Seven Days a Week with Catering Anytime or by Appointment



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop: The Big Time / Grande Tempo

Ciao Amici,

           The month of July is a special time while growing up in the butcher shop.

We looked forward to the “Big Time.” Not only to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, in Roseto, but also to celebrate  Grandpop ,birthday   on the 25th & mine on the 29th.   When I was very young, the Festival was held in the “dust bowl” where the Pius Football Field was.  I have no recollection of my parents taking me there. All I remember is I went with my friends or as my Grandfather called us, “The Gang of Ha Slegato Laccio delle Scarpe“ (untied shoe laces.) We were about a group of twenty and we’d all go together. While growing up in Roseto it was a more trusting time back then; everyone new each other and looked out for one another.

      On Saturday of “The Big Time”, at high noon, one firework was launched to remind everyone about the fireworks that will take place later that evening. Mom, Aunt Theresa and Grandmom were busy in the kitchen making the home made pizzas and sausage with peppers for all the friends that would stop by to say hello. It was sort of like when you celebrate New Year’s Eve and take time to reflect on life and make resolutions for a better year than the last.  As the last firework would go off, we would hear, “summer is over. “ Well, summer may be over, but tomorrow is Sunday and Sia Maria’s family is coming to visit and we will enjoy our macaroni and gravy meat before the “Procession.” See you at “The Big Time!”

 

Grazie,

Joe 

J. DeFranco and Daughters Catering & Deli

 

To receive menu specials and our newsletter

Join our mailing list at our NEW 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@ptd.net

Or call us 610-588-6991

Store Hours: 7 to 7 Seven Days a Week with Catering Anytime or by Appointment


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@ptd.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:   Italian Hand Gestures / Gesti della Mano Italiani

Ciao Amici, 

  
     When I was growing up in the Butcher shop, I liked to watch Grandpop talk to his customers. He used body language and hand gestures to punctuate an expression. Now as my customers come into our shop, Joelene sometimes has to move out of the way because I also talk with my hands. It is true that to stop an Italian from talking just tie his hands behind his back. One of the first gestures I learned was when Grandpop would have both his arms open and say, “Vieni fra le mie braccia!” [“Come to me.”] and we would hug. When he would need me he would put his pointer finger up and tell me, “Ehi tu, vieni qui! Ascolta! [“Hey! Come here, you! Listen!] When Grandmom made the homemade pasta for Chicken Tagulina [Noodle] Soup we’d hear, “Perfetto!” ["Perfect!"] The Italian gesture for “perfect” is taking your thumb and pointer fingers together making an “O.” This Italian gesture requires that you hold that up and move the hand back and forth. Upon saying, “Bellissima" ["Beautiful"], Grandpop would twist the corners of his mouth as if to twist a mustache. Still another when talking to someone not making any sense, with both hands up with the thumb to the four fingers waving back and forth, asking "Che vuoi?" "Che cavolo dici?" ["What do you want?" "What the heck are you saying?"] As frustration sometimes would set in, Grandpop would put his hands together like in prayer, “Madonna!” ["Mother of God!"] This gesture is a desperate appeal to the Mother of God. It expresses exasperation and disbelief. Swiping the hand forward from under the chin is a gesture used with frustration, “Non mi frega" ["I don’t give a damn.”] This is offensive in some cultures, but in Italian it simply means “I don’t care.” When bed time approached Mom would put her hands together by her face and rest them, “Tempo andare dormire” [“Time to go to sleep.”] “Buonanotte, Amici.” [“Good night Friend.”]

E un piuttosto gesto maleducato, ma almeno è chiaro quello che vuole dire.

It's a rather rude gesture, but at least it's clear what you mean.

~Katharine Hepburn

Con cordiali saluti,

Joe


Growing up in the Butcher Shop:  The Garden / IL Giardino

 Ciao Amici,

     When Grandmom retired after many years of labor in the butcher shop, we enjoyed working the garden together. My job was to till the soil, dig the holes for the tomatoes, plant the tomatoes and later on hammer in the tomato poles. All with the watchful eye of Grandmom making sure (Creazione sicuro) that I was doing it right and also if I had any questions; she was there to answer them. One of the many things that I admired about her was that even in her late eighties; she never lost the desire to learn new ways to garden. The different salad greens she planted, like arugla, were always available for a fresh salad with oil & vinegar (olio & aceto). Another gift from the garden was all the different fresh herbs; flat leaf parsley, basil, oregano, mint and sage (prezzemolo, basilico, origano, zecca e saggio). These herbs were used all summer long. Many of which were used in marinades.

     Using the fresh peeled tomatoes, sautéed garlic, fresh parsley and basil they made a light sauce we called; “Shoe way Shoe way Sauce.” Everything was cooked together for only about twenty minutes. It almost took longer to boil the macaroni then it did to make the sauce.

     One herb I partially like is sage to flavor the veal chop. When I first started my business 21 years ago Grandmom gave me cuttings from the sage plant and it is still here next to the building. When we harvest some to put in our dishes, it is a pleasant reminder of her love of family, cooking and gardening.

 

Sometimes you cannot see tradition but you can taste it

Qualche volta non può vedere tradizione ma può assaggiare esso

 

If you know where the name “Shoe way Shoe way Sauce” comes from, please let me know.

 Grazie,

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 Join our mailing list at our NEW 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 or by Appointment.



Growing Up in the Butcher Shop:  Father’s Day / Giorno dei Padri
 Ciao Amici,

 

Father’s Day was always very special to me. I was lucky to be able to have my father and grandfather together for their special day. When I was young, I wanted to be just like them! I looked up to them with admiration (ha ammirato). One trait they passed on to me was there passion for food, cooking and eating. I have been catering for twenty years and it seems to me less people enjoy eating. Some will comment, “I don’t eat this, I can’t have that or I am dieting”.  Oh, come on, just sit down and enjoy the food. Have food in moderation  

    

Our Sunday dinner like 99 .9% of the families in Roseto started with an antipasto, followed by some homemade macaroni made by my mom & grand mom to show us how much love and pride they had for their family. Next, we had the gravy meat (meatballs, sausage, braciole, and the lamb shank, pieces of pork, beef, and veal.)  “Pass the bread”, was heard chanting from the table. Then we’d have a refreshing insalata (salad), no fancy  dressing, just pure extra virgin olive oil and tart homemade red wine vinegar and  salt and pepper; that was it. “Let’s relax a little on the pouch and talk, “Grandpop would say. There was no TV and no computer; just stories, jokes and laughter. “Ok,” the table’s cleared,” Mom, Grand mom and Aunt Theresa would call out. We walked to the dining room table to see the bowl of fruit; some of which was sliced and placed in the wine glasses for an Italian Sangria and there were the nuts to crack.  More stories and laughter continued as we enjoyed the espresso and desserts. Some token presents were given; not bought online but made by my brothers and me at Our Lady of Mount Carmel School. In our classrooms we were taught by the sisters as they emphasized respect for our fathers and grandfathers because they worked hard for us.

 

It has been fifty years since my Grandfather passed away but there are not many days’s that I do not think of him.  It feels sometimes he is looking over my shoulder and I can hear him as I am cooking; “ Easy on the salt you can always add it, check the oven you can always cook it longer but once it is over done there is not much you can do.”  I used to wonder why this person didn’t call me for work or an organization that I am a member didn’t call me and Grandpop would say, “ Josie you can’t get all the jobs, people have to try others, this way they appreciate the quality you give. Remember, sometimes the Paese (town) is not for the Paesano (Townsperson)

 

Thank you everyone for telling me how much you are enjoying these stories and that you look forward to them. It pleases me very much. Grazie!

Best Regards / Con cordiali saluti

Joe


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@ptd.net to share your “Growing up in Roseto”



Ciao & Grazie,

Joe  


Growing up in the Butcher Shop          Memorial Day / Giornata Della Memoria

 Ciao Amici,

 Memorial Day is a  holiday in the United States which remembers 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 commemo