My Nonna features quite a bit and that was entirely unplanned. Maybe my Australian life is more multicultural than I realise.
It comes out at odd moments. Things I think are normal, and then suddenly someone says 'Really? You do/say that?'
I AM pretty Australian though. It's my mum who is the child of the ethnic immigrant (I think that's an official term).
Here are some momentos of my quasi Ital-Anglo normal life..
I took melanzana and verdura* 'sanGwiches' to school. Everyone else had vegemite or peanut butter 'sanDwiches.' (Yes, apparently I pronounce the word sandwiches wrong.)
* Translation is too hard because I have no idea how to describe melanzana and verdura. They are vegetables, fried and very oily and yum. And normal. For me.
It is normal to always have a lettuce salad with dinner. You NEVER skip salad. And you always eat it separately. With lots of vinegar and types of lettuce from Nonno's garden which you can't even by at the wholefoods market (poss. could be weeds).
It is normal to cook in the garage. It IS! The kitchen stays clean and shiny, and the little gas stove in the shed/garage produces wonders in culinary art.
It is normal to eat in the garage at Christmas time. Or at Easter, or a birthday, or a christening. The house just won't fit in all the aunties and uncles and cousins and second cousins and babies and nonnos and nonnas and paesani and random neighbours. (We take the cars out).
It is normal to build a house with an outdoor toilet. The indoor bathroom is absolutely lovely and DOES get used thank you very much. It's just that when you have an event in the garage, or if you spend a lot of time in the veggie garden, it's just more convenient.
We NEVER buy pizza. Why pay $20 for something nonna whips up at home for $2. And the crusts are divineeeeee.
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Oh, and there is this forward going around which perfectly describes a typical Italian dinner:
Table is set with everyday dishes (UNLESS, Zio Luigi is visiting from Italy... then we take out the dishes in the velvet suitcase).
All the utensils go on the right side of the plate and the napkin goes on the left.(Nonno's Fork has been widened to spear more pasta).
Home-made wine in recycled wine bottles with a twist top, and bottles of tap water in recycled plastic bottled water containers with the label worn off are on the table.. (Unless Zio Luigi is visiting from Italy....then we use the crystal Caraf
First course, Antipasto...change plates.
Next, Maccheroni (Nonna called all pasta Maccheroni)...change plates.
After that, roasted Meats, Roasted Potatoes, Overcooked vegetables....change plates.
THEN and only then (NEVER AT THE BEGINNING OF THE MEAL), would you eat the salad (HOMEMADE OIL & VINEGAR (Last years wine DRESSING ONLY)...change plates.
Next, Fruit, Nuts & LUPINI (on paper napkins because you ran out of dishes by now).
Coffee (Espresso for Nonno, "Canadese" coffee for the rest)
Hard Cookies with the almonds from the freezer to dip in the coffee.
The kids go play...the men go to talk soccer. ...The women clean the kitchen and gossip about "il figlio di Maria" or someone that's dying.
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Now, for a visual demonstration.
See this photo. This is the making of my birthday lasagna. Thanks Nonna!
See that jar. The one I've scribbled over.
Important ingredient: Cheese. Formaggio means cheese.
This is what we think of Vegemite. I'll bet you Nonna tossed the smelly brown stuff to get that perfect sized jar.