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Holiday Meals

Page history last edited by PBworks 18 years, 4 months ago


My Memorable Meal

CBC's "Fresh Air"


The following is a submission I sent on January 30, 2006 to CBC Radio's "Fresh Air" in response to the request for listeners to send in stories about memorable meals. Enjoy!


It's not a single, individual meal, but an entire class of meals, that stands out for me.


My parents were born in Italy and came to Canada in the 1950's and 1960's. I can remember a childhood of basement holiday parties, with all our friends and relatives there, from babies up to the grandmothers and grandfathers. Weeks before the holidays, the women would get together, making yards and yards of hand-made pasta, literally thousands of ravioli, and gallons of tomato sauce. During these marathon sessions, the women were the craftspeople, the pasta artisans, while the men and boys provided the grunt labour, cranking the pasta machine clamped to a kitchen table or a workbench.


The day of the event, the oven would be on all day, with all stove top elements brought to bear. The tables were doors set up on top of saw horses, with chairs of every description scrounged together around the table. The basement was filled with smoke, when smoking indoors wasn't considered anathema. After heaping helpings of cured meat antipasti, pickled vegetables, trays of sauced and baked pasta, roast bird and beast of all kinds, and home made pies and sweets for dessert, it was time to snooze.


Once the huge meal was digested, the playing cards would come out, and the evening would fill with laughter, curses at the fates that dealt the cards, occasional voices raised in song from the old country, seasoned with stories of old wins and losses, parties past, and loved ones no longer able to join us in this life. As dusk became dawn, crusty white bread, cold cuts and cold roast bird and beast came back out as the snacks of choice.


I've tried expensive, precious, dazzlingly crafted tasting menus. I've eaten pizza in a medieval Italian walled city where the same family ran the restaurant for more than 30 years. I've explored restaurants in New York where my sweetie and I are the only customers speaking English. These all pale, though, in comparison to the family gatherings of my youth.


Good, hearty and abundant food, family and loved ones, shared memories and love - ANY meal with all of these is a memorable meal.


Tony Prudori

Thunder Bay, Ontario


May 2004

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