I love the days spent with family, whether celebrating a birthday, holiday or just getting together for no reason then being together. I am reminded of my family first meeting with the “future in-laws.” Families meeting families was a very big deal especially for my husband’s family. My sweet Daddy loved to eat and pasta was up there in the top ten, so he assumed the meal would be a delicious plate of spaghetti, smothered with “sauce” as he thought of it and topped with tender, juicy meatballs. Well, he was partially right, however I had to explain to him that the meal would cover many courses and many hours! At first there was a confused look on his face; then a smile crept slowly on his lips and his eyes sparkled. Like I said my daddy loved to eat. At that moment I knew I had to explain in detail how the evening would proceed. First, there would be an antipasta, an assortment of meats, cheese, olives and various pickled vegetables, along with cocktails and casual conversation. After an hour or so had passed we would be called to the dining table, set with the best china and glassware. Next there would be the escarole soup with either tiny meatballs or somewhat larger ricotta balls. Then would come the pasta and gravy meat; with meatballs, sausage, and very often tender beef and pork sliced on a large platter. The table would be cleared and after a short interlude there would be the arrival of the roast chicken, potatoes, and either asparagus or artichokes topped with a crust of breadcrumb, garlic, cheese and olive oil. Oh, and of course there was always good Italian bread. My poor Daddy was totally perplexed by this gastronomical feast. But wait, we still have salad, fruit, coffee and dessert on the menu! So I gently took my Daddy’s hand and said, “Pace yourself!”
I am blessed with two beautiful daughters, terrific sons, amazing grandchildren, fabulous in-laws and a wonderful extended family. We still are together for holidays, birthdays, and just for no reason, except to spend time together. We have made some changes, however we are still true to many family recipes and traditions for the most part. One big change is the amount of food; I fondly remember those days when either my mother-in-law or sister-in-law would be preparing for days. As a matter of fact, I did a few of those myself! So yesterday was one of those days; enjoying family, food and the gift of love, but not as much food!
A meal with family!