Goodfellas Feast

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John Gotti liked his sfogliatella served warm with a cup of espresso and a twist of lemon. I know this because I was a waitress in a pastry shop he frequented in Little Italy after he became the crime boss of the Gambino Family. I assumed, evidenced by the deference shown to him and the flamboyantly expensive suits he wore, that he was an eccentrically wealthy Italian entrepreneur of some kind. But not necessarily of the deadly kind.

My memories of the Dapper Don were limited to a dozen or so interactions where he and the "associates" who joined him conducted their “business” at a table in the back of the shop as discretely as you might imagine a group of mobsters would. People came in, sat with them, talked awhile, and then left. Conversations were usually in Italian which made comprehending what they said challenging. Laughter often followed what I speculated were jokes about people they knew, but given my embryonic knowledge as an Italian speaker, I could never be sure. The conversations they had about food I understood much better. A subject they spoke about with affection and passion. My curiosity peaked, I began listening more closely as they named their favorite dishes along with the best restaurants that made them, gathering and memorizing the names of their favorite eating establishments until I had a list of my own.

Embarking on what I now call my Goodfellas Tour, I traveled the boroughs of New York City in search of la migliore cucina Italiana. The best Italian cooking. I ventured to Brooklyn to eat Risotto alla Pescatore at Osteria Brincello; I took the A train up to The Bronx to eat Arancini Margherita at La Bottega da Nello; and I toured the Lower East Side to eat Bucatini con le Sarde at Il Caminetto. As each culinary adventure unfolded, I filled my journal with the savory details of every one of them. Among the many memories I have, there was one restaurant, and one meal in particular, that deserves honorable mention: Trattoria Simoni and their sublime Ravioli ai Funghi. A beautifully handmade pasta stuffed with portobello mushrooms and mascarpone cheese, these epicurean angels were then delicately placed on a glistening pool of creamy rosemary garlic sauce and topped with a shaving of truffles. A meal I can say with longing was as close to sex on a fork as you can get.

Trattoria Simoni was a family owned restaurant situated in Williamsburg, New York, decades before Williamsburg was trendy and run by Sofia and Luciano Simoni. A non-descript exterior as restaurants go and located in a residential area, you could easily pass right by it and not know what gastronomic pleasures were hidden inside. As you breached the door you were greeted by Luciano who was usually standing behind a dark oak bar. The smell of roasted meats and garlic teased your senses as you were led inside the warm glow of a dining room decorated with pink linen tablecloths and candle lit tables. Their chef was a distant cousin from Liguria but Sofia was the person who still made all of the pasta. Luciano, for his part, took care of his customers by placing a bottle of wine on your table, pouring you a glass and then gesturing for you to drink it. Modeled after the Italian custom of only charging you for what you drink, it was difficult to refuse his bonhomous suggestion.

My frequent trips back to Trattoria Simoni awarded me the honor of having Sofia greet me in the dining room and then bluntly ask me "Perche mangiare da sola?" (Why are you eating alone?) This was quickly remedied by seating me with other family members so that we could "mangiare insieme". Often times Sofia paired me with visitors from Italy who spoke very little English. Conversations in those situations were typically limited by my vocabulary skills. I was in safe territory if we were talking about food, but anything outside of that and I instantly became the village idiot. This was never more acutely felt than when I found myself describing Easter as the holiday for “the man who died on two sticks of wood”. Or during one very convoluted conversation, and a lot of chianti, where I may have actually told one of Sofia's befuddled cousins that I was a taxidermist who had an extensive collection of bats. Or something equally absurd.

Occasionally, the chianti would find it's way into Luciano's glass and put him in the mood to sit down with the customers to enjoy a bit of "chiacchierare". More often than not this would amiably go unmentioned by Sofia, but every now and then she'd drop a comment under her breath, and then the both of them would entertain us with a mixture of good natured banter and an ongoing argument over the division of labor that either ended up with Luciano patting Sofia on the behind, or with Sofia making colorful barbs on the character of men. In either case, it was always a rich resource of new Italian vocabulary words.

While my Goodfellas Tour only ran the course of a few months before I changed jobs, it introduced me to the culinary joys of Italian cooking that I have enjoyed most of my life. As to the practice of dangling eyeballs and the likes of Signore Gotti, the closest I personally came to anything that eye popping was when John Gotti asked me if I wanted to sit on his lap.

Yikes!

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Anja Geitz's picture

For stealing the idea to write about mobsters. This began as a comment in his hilarious essay that ended up much too long.

Thanks so much for sparking some weird and wonderful memories. Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

hecate's picture

@Anja Geitz
think it's great. It can become a whole series: people can write about Mobsters I Have Known & Feared And/Or Loved. HenryAWallace already contributed that story about the mob son who kept the family well away from his medical practice, because he did not want to be called on someday to bone-saw somebody and stuff them in some suitcases.

This was really a treat to read. You should write more often. Like that series on the boyfriends who all needed their eyeballs to be dangled. : )

The Major Problem with this essay is that I am salivating. I want to go now into a Mob Place, and there eat pastry, and, also, experience sex on a fork.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@hecate

If for no other reason than the stories they'd impart, it would be a great series!

Hmmm...the boyfriends. Yes, as in all things in hindsight, more entertaining in the telling then in the living.

Perhaps, in keeping with the Italian theme, I'll begin with Massimo....

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

janis b's picture

@Anja Geitz

He's an amazing chef and social activist in his role.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@janis b

The other night! Wonderful story. A love story and a food story.

Massimo, lol, nope not the same one! Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

janis b's picture

@Anja Geitz

???

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Anja Geitz's picture

@janis b

Until I write about it to find out. Hahahaha!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz

I didn't have any trendy NY Italian restaurants, but I grew up in my Grandpa DiMeglio's home with an Auntie Mollie (Magdalena) who whipped up our daily meals. I swear she was the best cook anywhere. She always insisted the mob was Sicilian, not Italian. I also had an Aunt who was killed by the Purple Gang. My maternal ancestors are Naples (Isle of Iscia), and my dad's family is Calabria (Zagarese). The food and Italian dialects spoken were as different as could be.

Thanks for the great story and adding to the anticipation of my trip back to my ancestral home.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

Anja Geitz's picture

@dkmich

Your memories about your family. I'll bet you have a favorite dish that your Aunt made for you. I look forward to hearing about your trip!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@dkmich

my father in law is an American of Sicilian descent. After they married, she abandoned the dishes she grew up on and cooked for him.

I have had Sunday dinner there when she made four--count 'em, four-- different kinds of pasta for five people, her husband, her two (adult) children, herself and me. And she works full-time as a bookkeeper!

Only one kind of "gravy," though. "Sunday gravy" with handmade meatballs, of course, with the occasional bragiole.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@HenryAWallace

Before I repeated the same pasta. I also love the names they attach to their pasta.

Orecchiette for little ear. Farfalle for butterfly. Ditilini for little fingers. Capellini for little hair.

I made a comment down thread to Mark from Queens about the different affection food names Italians give each other.

You Italians and your food!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz

delicious food.

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@Anja Geitz

except a mythological Midwestern accent. In films, the myth was the "mid-Atlantic" accent, as thought there were an island midway between Manhattan and London. If you ever watch the original Miracle on 34th Street, note the accent on the wife of NYC department store manager.

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LOL. You had me right there!
That’s one I shall not forget

Drooling over your descriptions.
Though not sure as to thank you or not, as they are not close enough to my fork.

Thanks for this delightful essay.

Mama Mia!

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Sirena

Thanks for popping in! Glad you enjoyed my memory down foodie lane. I'm sure you have a favorite food memory as well!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

janis b's picture

and fondly. It’s great to read your stories.

Waitressing is a job that can be quite enlarging in ways that have nothing to do with food. For me it was more about paying the bills, learning how to relate to all different others, and being able to easily leave work behind so that you can enjoy the freedom that comes after.

Anyway, my most recent, but long ago digested memories of Little Italy were a few visits to the restaurant Grotta Azzurra, with an after-dinner stroll to Cafe Palermo for cannolis (mid-70s). The interior was underwater cave-like. It looks quite different, from todays googling.

Eye candy ...

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Pricknick's picture

@janis b
Smiling while thinking of indulging.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Anja Geitz's picture

@janis b

Reminds me of a trip to Capri I didn't make because my wallet was stolen on a bus in Florence. The only good thing that came out of that was the dinner that followed when I went to the police station to report what happened and a cute carabinieri asked me out. Lol!

I think we should all post pictures of our favorite pastries. I remember going down to Ferraras every San Gennaro to get cannolis.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

janis b's picture

@Anja Geitz

was my camera on a bench in Florence ; ).

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Anja Geitz's picture

@janis b

Were you distracted by food or men?

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

janis b's picture

@Anja Geitz

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Anja Geitz's picture

@janis b

When my boyfriend and I went to visit the Galleria dell Accademia, instead of taking pictures of Michelangelo's David, we took pictures of the visitors looking at the sculpture instead. We got some great expressions. The kids not knowing how to react to a nude male figure as large as David towering over them, were especially amusing to capture on film. Shame when we broke up, he got those.

That's another boyfriend worthy of scribblings.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@janis b

had. I love the Florentine--the cannoli shell is very thin and crunchy and made with peanuts. Reese's peanut butter cups hung their heads in shame.

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janis b's picture

@HenryAWallace

Actually as sweets go, I prefer florentines to cannolis, even if they’re flaky … and reeses are my favourite American candy. But best of all, I like these …

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Anja Geitz's picture

@janis b

These are the BEST I've ever tasted. The dark chocolate contrasts the sweet peanut butter filling in a way milk chocolate doesn't seem to. The filling also has a richer flavor and texture, and again not quite as sweet as the reeses filling.

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Trader joes also has smaller packages too with a handful of little peanut butter cups for 99 cents. If you PM me your address, I will send you one of the little packages of these Smileimage_36.jpg

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

janis b's picture

@Anja Geitz

and sounds like it would taste even better. If I can't wait until my next visit to the Us (and Trader Joe's) I'll S.O.S. you!

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Pricknick's picture

Just finished a nice Afghan Kush.
Too lazy to make anything and starving at the same time.
Sucks to be me.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Anja Geitz's picture

@Pricknick

I've never heard of it before...

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

janis b's picture

@Anja Geitz

but not necessarily eaten.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@janis b

That Pricknick knitted. Lol.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

janis b's picture

@Anja Geitz

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Anja Geitz's picture

@janis b

I gotta go knit my quilt Wink

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Pricknick's picture

@janis b
Smile

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Pricknick's picture

@Anja Geitz
That's a hint.
https://www.wikileaf.com/strain/afghan-kush/

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

Anja Geitz's picture

@Pricknick

I finally got it. What a dingaling I am. A knitted quilt. Lol!!!!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Pricknick's picture

@Anja Geitz

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

snoopydawg's picture

@Anja Geitz

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America is a pathetic nation; a fascist state fueled by the greed, malice, and stupidity of her own people.
- strife delivery

janis b's picture

@snoopydawg

Nothing like late-night c99!

"this is a free country"

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@janis b

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Anja Geitz's picture

@snoopydawg

Well there's something unexpected!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

janis b's picture

for the fun.

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prior on mafia and food.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@MrWebster

Classic Pryor. And not a bad accent either.

"this is a stick up!"

Hahahaha

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Anja Geitz's picture

@MrWebster

Ya don't know what you're missing Smileimage_31.jpg

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Mark from Queens's picture

Was walking up and down the hills of a small town in Lombardia somewhere with three friends on our way to lunch. Nicolo said, “you know there was a question polled to the Italian people recently asking which they preferred, sex or food.”

Well, you know what the answer is. Food, of course.

Nice essay Zoe. I’m just out of the bath after a private gig in DC, too exhausted to write anymore, though you piqued my mind in lots of directions. Will try to come back again tomorrow (or later today).

‘Nite all.

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"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

Anja Geitz's picture

@Mark from Queens

With that poll. And those results. Great detail. I look forward to hearing what I sparked up in that New York Italian Foodie Brain Of Yours!!

Hey, did you ever notice how many endearing names Italians have for each other that are the names of food? Cippolina, Fragolina, Caramellino, Sorbettino, Pasticino, etc

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Raggedy Ann's picture

It reminded me of my waitressing job working for two Italian brothers. They tried so hard to screw the staff to increase their profits, I had fun calling the labor board and watching the fallout. I, too, have stories to re-live.

Thanks for shaking those memories loose. Maybe I'll join the mob-writing-club, for they were a mob unto themselves in, wait for it Hecate, Albuquerque! Pleasantry

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“The trouble [with injustice] is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
-- Arundhati Roy

hecate's picture

@Raggedy Ann
is mob in Albuquerque? Somehow such folks were never present in my Vision. Just goes to show, once again, that everything connects. : )

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Raggedy Ann

You should! Join!! Join!! Join!! I wanna hear about your visit to the Labor Board!

SmileSmileSmile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Raggedy Ann's picture

@Anja Geitz
recollections. It was a hoot! Pleasantry

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“The trouble [with injustice] is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There is no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.”
-- Arundhati Roy

With all due respect to Gotti, I prefer lobster tail pastry to sfogiatelle. Google insists they are one and the same, but they are not. Lobster tails are bigger, shaped like a lobster tail (you saw that one coming, right?) and the filling is different.

I'd so love to have sex on a fork, but I don't think my balancing skills are good enough. (-;

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Anja Geitz's picture

@HenryAWallace

Owners sold the store years ago. Last time I was there, it was an Italian sandwich shop for tourists.

I have never had a lobster tail. What is the filling?

Balancing act not required. Just the fork Wink

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz Imagining a couple in throes of passion lying on fork tines is some very funny stuff.

In my part of the Italian pastry world, sfogiatelle is filled with a yellower filling than Lobster tails, though the shells are made of the same "pleated" looking pastry. The lobster tail filling is closer to a cannoli filling, but richer and slightly more dense, if you can imagine such a thing.

As you may be able to discern, my pastry expertise is limited to wolfing them down ecstatically, and mindlessly.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@HenryAWallace

Lobster tails are stuffed with a French cream, either a Choix Paste with eggs, sugar, water and flour, or a Creme Patisserie with eggs, sugar and cream.

Lobster tails are also not found in Italy. Only the US.

Devouring either one is good Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz

"Lobster tails are also not found in Italy."

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@Anja Geitz

pastry that is different from sgfogiatelle.

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/329677635215938706/

For a better view, click on the photo.

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Bob In Portland's picture

In my little hometown of my youth on the Jersey shore the bakery, Hansen's, and the little shipyards, were all in the hands of Swedes. I remember their crumbly buns to be extraordinary. And although our utilities were sufficiently mobbed up, they were far enough in the back that no one noticed, and if you did notice were polite enough to keep quiet.

I can remember my big sister and I riding on a sled pulled by my dad to the bakery and then back home.

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@Bob In Portland

great Italian delis and bakeries. Especially Long Branch. A youngish Italian man used to shave near an open window, singing opera every morning. I could see and hear him. That was fun. I haven't been in years, though.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@HenryAWallace

Who used to sing showtunes out in the street when he was drunk. Usually at 3:00am in the morning during the summer when you had the windows open. Life in New York.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz

at the Jersey Shore?

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Bob In Portland

Swedish or Scandanavian?

image_32.jpg

I had an almond one just recently which I served warm with vanilla ice cream. Collective moans around the table told me my guests enjoyed it as much as I did.

Sweet picture you paint with the sled and going to the bakery...thanks for contributing Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz
As are the Danes, who can claim the credit for Kringles.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Anja Geitz's picture

@UntimelyRippd

Hope you enjoyed the essay.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

@Anja Geitz
my immediate reaction. the Swedes tend to think of themselves as The Scandinavians.

Anyway, to my knowledge Wisconsin is not abundant with Danes (nor is anywhere else in the US, actually), but the Heart of Kringledom in Middle Earth is Racine, Wisconsin, about 30 miles south of Milwaukee, and the site (more or less) of the new Foxconn plant that has Scott Walker all pants-peed about himself.

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The earth is a multibillion-year-old sphere.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews.
On 9/11/01 a Boeing 757 (AA77) flew into the Pentagon.
AGCC is happening.
If you cannot accept these facts, I cannot fake an interest in any of your opinions.

Anja Geitz's picture

@UntimelyRippd

Nice. Smile

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

mhagle's picture

Such fun reading your essay and all the comments!

I fell in love with Italian food when in the late 80s I found myself teaching in Cicero, IL - home to Al Capone, and wonderful Italian restaurants. Like you described, often there would be a bunch of old guys speaking Italian. My favorite restaurant was Capri in neighboring Berwyn. Sadly, it burned down after I moved away. My Texas mother-in-law is Italian. Her dad was a Sagnibene and her mom a Campisi. Not sure if she was related to the Dallas restaurant Campisi's or not. They all come from Sicily.

Ethnicity seems to be largely lost in Texas. Everyone sounds the same. When I was growing up in the midwest, the Norwegians sounded like Norwegians and the Italians like Italians. That might all be gone now there too. In the early 90s went to a wonderful Norwegian Smorgasbord in Norse, TX. Food was exactly like my mom's 1000 miles away, everyone looked like me, but they all sounded like Texans.

But I digress! Would very much love to learn to cook authentic tasting Italian food! I do have a garage sale pasta maker that I have used for stroganoff. Any advice on where to go? YouTube channels? Allrecipes.com?

Thanks again for the lovely banter!

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

@mhagle

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mhagle's picture

@HenryAWallace

Head cheese, but the Norwegian version is called rullepølse. I think Mom made it out of veal. I remember she rolled it, tied it up and eventually sliced it.

Thanks! I have been trying to track down a recipe for years, but I had no idea how to spell it. Now I have several.

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

mhagle's picture

@mhagle

https://www.norwegianamerican.com/featured/rullepolse-a-versatile-classic/

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

OzoneTom's picture

@mhagle
I figured that this wouldn't be too big a leap from the Italic OP after that. ;-P

When I was a kid, some neighbors of Danish descent by way of the midwest U.S. used to make a simple cookie that I always assumed was just a way to use-up left-over dough.

When baked and served they were a bunch of little baked pillows with a dusting of cinnamon. These pillows were roughly 1/3 inches to a side and I assume were made by rolling the dough and cutting it into squares before the cinnamon topping and baking.

Sound familiar to anyone? They called them some foreign-y name but I have always wondered if it were really a Danish traditional cookie or just a way they got rid of left-over dough and also got rid of us kids for a while...

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mhagle's picture

@OzoneTom

Trying to remember the name. Turskikill?? I am sure that is not spelled right. I'll have to look it up. Thanks for the memory!!

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

OzoneTom's picture

@mhagle
That gives me a jumping-off point for trying to solve this mystery! I appreciate your recollection.

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@mhagle

Norse, Texas. Souse Texas, Eas Texas, Wes Texas

Souse, as in Souse American Way

I simply made yet another of my stupid jokes--a semi-pun. I've been silly at several junctures on this thread. Hence, the "Somebody stop me!" video.

I had no idea "souse" was actually a Norse thing. I'm so glad it worked out for you, though. Talk about serendipity!

Serendipity, the film

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0240890/

Serendipity, the NYC Frrozen Chocolate hot spot (See what I did there?--Still silly, after all these posts!)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serendipity_3

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mhagle's picture

@HenryAWallace

That's what is fun about these conversations. They take us all different directions. Smile

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

Anja Geitz's picture

@mhagle

How you use a pasta maker for stroganoff.

As for making pasta and other Italian goodies, here's a link to all things Lidia. She's fabulous. I learned how to make a Risotto alla Pescatore from her.

Start there for ideas and lemme know how it goes!

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

mhagle's picture

@Anja Geitz

Sliced sauteed marinated steak with fresh mushrooms and ultimately the added sour cream to the sauce. Pouring it over the homemade noodles makes it!

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/25202/beef-stroganoff-iii/?internalSou...

I will check out Lidia. Thanks!

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

Anja Geitz's picture

@mhagle

Look down thread for Lidia link.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

Anja Geitz's picture

@mhagle

Face palm.

http://www.pbs.org/food/chefs/lidia-bastianich/

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3 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

janis b's picture

@mhagle

"Ethnicity seems to be largely lost in Texas. Everyone sounds the same. When I was growing up in the midwest, the Norwegians sounded like Norwegians and the Italians like Italians."

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Eagles92's picture

But this has been such a treat to read. Thanks, @zoebear and @hecate, for your talents and the ongoing conversation they've sparked. I can't wait to read more! (And they've been a special salve a day after I received some bad family news, too. Very grateful for that).

As for mobsters I've known, loved, or eaten (wait, what?) -- my only claim to fame is that one of my college classmates called John Gotti "Uncle John." This was not a blood relationship; rather, her father was "in construction" in New Jersey and the two were "associates."

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Anja Geitz's picture

@Eagles92

It's mobster Italian day!

Uncle John, eh? The construction business, eh? Yeah, New York. It's got a lotta those connections , right?

Sorry to hear about your family news. If you'd like to PM me, please do. I'd be glad to lend an ear. I recently got bad family news and am working my way through it, so I sympathize.

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4 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

smiley7's picture

Beautifully told bringing back memories of Little Italy and the country and the Village. Appears from the comments, several of us c99ers may have been neighbors in New York at the same time.

Oh, the magic at sunset when the restaurants in Little Italy came alive with belting music.

Cheers.

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Anja Geitz's picture

@smiley7

But it never leaves you. Little Italy back in the day had some great places to eat. I used to work at Ferraras during the San Gennaro festival. Talk about a New York experience! My favorite festivals though, were the smaller ones in some of the other boroughs. I remember one in Brooklyn, where the highlight each day of the weekend festival, was carrying an immense statue of a Catholic Saint through the street and having everyone throw flowers on it. It reminded me of a scene right out of Godfather II.

Thanks for stopping by Smile

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6 users have voted.

There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier