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The Company In An Italian Household

Updated: Jun 25

I grew up in an Italian American family. My grandparents were first generation here. settled in Brooklyn, New York, and spoke both Italian and English fluently.

In the early 60's they left Brooklyn and moved to Queens. That's why every Sunday when I was a kid, we drove from Long Island to Queens for Sunday dinner with the family.

When we first arrived at my grandparents' house, the routine was to kiss grandma hello and then immediately head into the kitchen and grab a fried meatball. What I would give to eat just one more of grandmas meatballs!

Sunday dinner was served early. We ate by about 3 p.m. We knew what was on the menu and we looked forward to it every week. Some sort of pasta in red sauce was a given. The sauce was made with meatballs, sausage, spare ribs, braciola, and pork necks. That was the first course!

A little after that a roast came out sometimes surrounded by potatoes with onions and peas and of course a salad. No, in our family, we didn't eat salad last, though many Italians did.

A while after clean up, cake and coffee was served. There was always a huge variety of sweets to choose from. After that the fruit and candy came out.

Yes, it was a food fest. But... no one was overweight. The kids were all thin.

We did more than just eat. We actually visited with one another. We talked, we laughed, we sang, we played games, we had cake fights sometimes, and crazy, fun things happened. Music was usually playing before and/or after dinner.

We teased each other. We gave each other crazy nicknames, We teased friends, No one ever got offended. It was all in good fun. No one was labeled and there was no fighting. Today, it's impossible to have fun, everything offends someone and you get called all kinds of untrue names.

The kitchen or dining room was the gathering place and it was where they spent the day and night. A few of the men moved to the living room right next to the dining room to watch a ball game but they were so close, they were still involved in the conversation.

Now, sometimes on a holiday, some people will move to the living room at whosever's house we are at, but they always wander back in and sit around the table.

My mom's house was and still is the same way. When company comes, we are in the kitchen the entire visit, around the table. People are always offered a meal or at least something to pick on which generally consists of a variety of pickies.

A good friend came for a visit yesterday afternoon. She moved from New York to South Caroline a few years ago and I've only seen her twice since the move. I made egg salad and chicken salad for lunch with a choice of rolls or two different types of bread. I also put out chips and dips prior to serving lunch which I left on the table to eat with the sandwiches.

We were a group of about 10 people. We spent the entire afternoon sitting around the table chatting.

To me it's the most comfortable place and the easiest for everyone to see one another and visit with one another.

I once went to relatives of my ex husband for the weekend and they moved us to the living room and served coffee and cake in the living room. WHAT? That was a huge no no in my house. We only ate in the kitchen or dining room. Food and drink were never allowed in the living room, ever.

I didn't like it. Trying to balance a coffee cup in your hand and eat cake without spilling is just annoying. I found it very uncomfortable. And I didn't like having to lean over to the coffee table constantly. It's so much easier, convenient and neater at a table.

To this day, when we get company, we are in the kitchen, dining room or outside in the yard sitting at the tables out there. It's just very odd to me and feels strange to visit with people anywhere but the kitchen, dining room or outdoor patio tables.

What's even odder is to go to someone's house and they don't put out a meal. Even if people pop in on us unannounced, we can easily throw something together. My mom always had a big refrigerator with freezer, a separate huge freezer, a huge pantry and all was always fully stocked. She could whip up a meal in minutes.

Where do you entertain the company? In my house, it will always be at the table.

Check out my other stories:

The Day My Life Changed

Thank You To The Man Who Saved My Life and other Funny Stories

Oh The Confusion

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