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Just Some Funny and Odd Stories

UPDATED: 4/15/23

The two stories I heard all my life were the sauce story and the rice story! We'll start with those.

Sauce Story:

My dad was young. I'm not sure exactly how old. He lived in the same house as his aunt and uncle and cousins. One day, his aunt asked him to "turn the pot" while she was out. Now... my dad knew nothing of cooking then and knows as much now. He called me not too long ago asking how to make a soft boiled egg. He's 80!

Keep in mind, my family is of Italian descent. My grandmother and her sister spoke both fluent Italian and English. However, some of their English terminology was a bit, shall we say, odd/different/unique. I heard my own grandmother (my dad's mom and sister to the aunt in this story) call out to her daughter, my aunt, and ask, "Did you turn the pot?" I knew/know what she meant.

My dad's aunt - my grandmother's sister. This picture was taken in 1984, years after the sauce incident, at my engagement party for my first marriage. The party was held in my backyard.

My dad did as he was asked. Every so often, he went into the kitchen and literally turned the pot. He did this several times. In his mind, he was helping out perfectly.

Well... needless to say, the pot of sauce burned. See, what dad didn't know was "turn the pot" meant stir the sauce. Had he been asked to stir the sauce, he surely would have. But he was asked to "turn the pot" and so... he did!

I'm thinking there's no word for stir in Italian. I watch several YouTube channels with chefs from Italy and they say turn in their Italian accent rather than stir.

Dad giving mom a ring for her 16th birthday, not the engagement ring, that was for her 18th birthday. They married when mom was 19.

After dinner, my grandmother used to say, "Did you give the dog to eat?" We all knew that meant, did anyone feed the dog? I guess their terminology was a combination of Italian/English/Brooklyn, but, we understood. Then again, we stayed around her more often. Dad was always out playing and when he got older, he was out with his friends or on dates with my mom. They started dating when mom was 15.

To this day, as a joke, we will sometimes tell my dad to "turn the pot." He still gives us "the look." (Sauce recipe)

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Rice Story:

Mom and my Aunt were home with just my grandfather and they decided to make rice for a dish they were cooking. They were feeding a lot of people. What they didn't realize was that rice grows. They made a ridiculous amount of rice and it was like a volcano in the kitchen. Mom, my Aunt and Grandpa were all running with bowls, catching exploding, erupting rice and placing it all over the kitchen. Needless to say, they had a vat of rice and could have fed the National Guard!

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My grandmother, the amazing cook, the woman who could make a cardboard box taste good, got a huge laugh over their rice escapades.

I'm happy to say, both my mom and Aunt have since learned to cook rice properly and in the correct amount and they give fair warning to others to this day.

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The Big Question:

I was home alone on a Saturday. I lived with my parents at the time. The kids and I moved back in when I left my ex and we lived with them for two years. The kids were probably with my sister and my other sister, mom and dad were all working. (My sister still lived at home and her and mom worked in my sister's salon).

I had just prepared lunch for myself (leftover Chinese food) and set the plate on the table. The phone rang, it was a wall phone with a wire (mom still has it). My cousin was calling from Switzerland where he was working and asked for my sister. He and I got into a nice conversation after I explained my sister was working and unavailable.

A call from my sister's then boyfriend, now husband, broke in. I answered, asking my cousin to hold. I told my sister's boyfriend I was on a long distance call. He said, "ok, call me back quickly."

I ended the call with my cousin in Switzerland and immediately called back my sister's then boyfriend.

Sister's Boyfriend; "Oh, glad you called back."

Me, "What's going on, is something wrong.?

Sister's Boyfriend; "How do you know when hot dogs are done?"

Seriously? I thought something terrible happened. He had hot dogs boiling and needed to know when they would be done! I wanted to kill him.

Then to top it off, when I went to sit down to eat my lunch, it was gone. Our yellow Lab helped herself to it. She never stole from the table, but she did that day! Of course. No lunch for me.

Thanksgiving Candied Sweet Potatoes:

We moved into our new house in July, when I was eight years old in 1972. Prior to that, we lived with my maternal grandparents in a mother-daughter house a little closer to the city.

Thanksgiving was my maternal grandmother's holiday. She loved it and she did all the cooking every year. That year was to be a bit different. We would be "alone" as my mom referred to it, meaning just my parents, myself and two sisters. No other family.

Grandma and grandpa flew to Texas for my grandfather to have a newer operation done at the time, done only in Texas by Dr. DeBakey. He had heart bypass surgery. I'm not sure why they had to be there over Thanksgiving, but they did.

We didn't get together with my dad's side of the family because his father was also having a big surgery in New York City.

So, mom cooked. She never cooked for Thanksgiving, but she certainly could. She was and still is an amazing cook!

She had one little mishap. She burned the glaze for the sweet potatoes. But there's always some good in every situation. Us kids ate it off spoons and it was like hard taffy candy, we loved it. We used to ask Grandma to burn the glaze like mom did every year. She never did.

The other good thing was that Grandma learned about grits in Texas. She loved them and made them often for us up here in New York. So us native New York kids got a taste of some southern grits.

The mere mention of grits always makes me think of the movie, "My Cousin Vinny" and the whole grit interrogation. Oh my God, I laugh every time.

The Meatballs:

A few weeks ago, around 8 p.m. my daughter facetimed me.

My daughter; "Hi mom, how do you turn meatballs?"

Me, "Show me what you are doing."

She turns the camera on her frying meatballs.

Me; "First off, you don't have enough oil. Secondly, you are not using a nonstick pan."

Her future mother and father-in-law recently came for a visit and stayed with them. We had a lovely day out at the wineries and then a few days later, a nice dinner party. It was their first time seeing the house my daughter and their son bought due to Covid, so she bought my daughter beautiful nonstick pots and pans and a set of silverware! We had all given them gifts when they first purchased the house in 2020. I'm happy she can now make meatballs without them sticking and breaking. Disclaimer: I always tried to teach my daughter to cook. She was never interested. My son, on the other hand, was interested and is an awesome cook. She's learning some basics now out of necessity! Still not her thing.

My sister and daughter being silly and Mom, making meatballs. Please visit my YouTube Channel, subscribe, hit the bell for notifications so you don't miss any new videos and give a thumbs up to the videos you like. Feel free to share and comment/ask questions. Check out my YouTube Playlist - Baked Goods. Disregard the end of the video - that's a now defunct blog, this is my current blog.

BTW, the easiest way to turn a meatball is gently with a fork. It's how my mom and grandma always did it and how I do it!

The Corn:

When I was growing up, my family frequented the farms out east often, during all seasons. We went strawberry, pepper, pumpkin and apple picking. We bought barrels of fresh peaches and many freshly baked homemade pies.

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One of the things we loved was to buy corn from the farm stands. It was like buying ice-cream, the corn was roasted to perfection and smothered in butter and it practically melted in your mouth. (See Long Island North Fork Farms, Food and Fun)

Please visit my YouTube Channel, subscribe, hit the bell for notifications so you don't miss any new videos and give a thumbs up to the videos you like. Feel free to share and comment/ask questions. Long Island North Fork Farms, Food and Fun

One year, my mom's cousin's family was staying with us and my mom and her cousin bought fresh corn from the farms out East. They cleaned it and put it in a huge pot to boil. The corn wouldn't cook. They kept checking and checking, to no avail.

Mom cooked that corn for two days and it NEVER cooked. It was the cookless corn. Never before or after have we had that happen. Crazy, but true. Mom wound up throwing out all the corn.

Trick to Schuck Corn:

The Crabs:

Fishing and crabbing was abundant on Long Island when I was a kid. You're not a true Long Islander if you haven't stood on the dock at night and gone crabbing. My kids used to love it.

One summer night, when we first moved into the house we still live in (I've moved in and out several times through the years) when I was eight years old, my family brought home loads and loads of crabs.

My grandmother (dad's mom) was visiting with my grandfather, aunt, uncle and all my cousins.

She made the biggest pot of fresh red crab sauce over spaghetti and we ate it out in the backyard. It was the absolute most delicious sauce I've ever eaten. Then again, my grandmother was an amazing cook. She could make a cardboard box taste good. The recipe in green link is not my grandmother's recipe, but it is similar.

That was in 1972 when our neighborhood and house looked like this. Everything looks very different now almost 51 years later.

My two grandmothers. Dad's mom (crab sauce queen, on left),

Mom's mom, also amazing cook, on right.

The thing is, if someone can still remember the taste and meal that their grandmother made almost 51 years ago and desire it again, you know that woman had to be a damn good cook!

Sauce, Sauce and more Sauce:

A few years back, my son hosted Super bowl Sunday. It was his first time hosting an event with a lot of people. Either he or my mom made stromboli. Our family likes to dip it in red sauce, like you would use for spaghetti.

This is not the stromboli we made, It's a picture of stromboli in case

some don't know what it is.

I walked into my son's house and saw a HUGE pot of sauce on the stove. I asked, "what are you making?" He said, "It's for the Stromboli." He made TEN, yes TEN, 28oz cans of Tuttorosso crushed tomatoes to dip Stromboli in! I couldn't stop laughing. I told him next time, two cans would be way more than enough just for dipping.

He froze the sauce and had it all winter long.

And just for laughs:

I was going away to Atlantic City for the weekend with a group of ladies (cousins and friends) I had a long list of items I should pack. Everyone was still at work, they got home around dinnertime on a Saturday. So, my sister's boyfriend showed up, knowing she'd be home soon. (The hot dog guy).

Me; "I hope I'm not forgetting anything."

I read my long list to my sister's boyfriend, now husband. My sister's boyfriend listens intently.

Me, "Do I have everything?"

Sister's Boyfriend; "I don't know, I pack a toothbrush and condoms and I'm good."

Leave it to me to ask a man such a question. Did I really expect an answer other than that? Happily, I didn't forget anything and we had an awesome kid-free girl's getaway!

Honorable Mentions:

The Great Muffin Debacle, Gluten Free Rice Balls DISASTER!

For more fun stories: "I Can't Cook." Sure You Can!

Even the bad stories can have some good or something funny. The Casualties of Cooking WARNING; CERTAIN PICTURES CAN BE GRAPHIC. THE PICTURES AND VIDEO MAY BE DISTURBING TO SOME:

Happy cooking. Never stop laughing.

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