Fragments of dreams, thoughts, imaginings….
“What do you expect of me?” Voices were raised. I could hear from behind the closed door, but always it would end the same way. One or the other would walk out and take off. High drama in an Italian family.
A few hours, or days later, there would be a truce. A semi-resolution for the sake of the kids. And life would go back to normal. For a while.
And then there would be the pasta, too long cooked, or the sauce that didn’t have the onions properly strained. Or there would be too much pepper. Or not enough salt. Or the bacon wasn’t crisp. Or the hash browns weren’t brown enough. Or the fish was too limp, the sausage too firm. And on and on it would go like this, all through many Italian-American households, in the days after the war.
It’s amazing how any of us grew up to like food and wine.
Or was it just an isolated experience, imagined, as many things of childhood are?
A recent dream sequence. An Italian, nattily attired. Nice tie, custom suit, shoes, glasses, cufflinks. Million-dollar package. He is in a receiving line. He breaks out of the line, approaches me, whispers in my ear, “I told you I would win, you sonofabitch. Look at me now. And there's nothing you can do to take it away.” And he goes back to the receiving line.
A couple pulls away from a restaurant in an exotic Italian sports car. They have been drinking red wine, all night. As they peel away, I wonder if they will make it home. And then I think to myself, “I just hope they don’t hurt anyone else, I don’t care if they die.” And I go back into the bar and order a Cynar. Up. No ice.
A fancy New Yorker and his fancy new body, courtesy of a fancy bariatric procedure. Has a new lease on life. Appears on television. Gets a huge book deal. Seen in the corner of my eye, at a recent event, he was frowning. What was the matter? Was the bacon too crisp?
A young couple walks into a wine shop with a flyer for Italian wines. The flyer has wines that are exclusive to a shop which is thousands of miles away. “We don’t care, we just want something similar. we want something good. Italian wines are so confusing.” So we walk over to the rack, grab a Barbera for the risotto with porcini, a Montepulciano for the pizza with red sauce and a Brunello, just because. Just then a man walks up and asks if Brunello wines are cabernets. Now, I am confused and walk over to a shelf where there are marrons glacés, just arrived, tear open a package and eat three. And order an espresso. I didn’t answer the question.
A friend at a wedding in San Antonio, messages me,” What are the grapes these Sicilian wines are made from?” I try to determine the winery. After many Googles, I finally find out. I go to their site. The site is controlled by the Flash-protocol. I cannot maneuver through the site, without following some stupid course. When I finally get to the area where I think the information is they don’t have a tech sheet. I just wasted ten minutes. I will never buy or recommend that wine until they change their ridiculous web site. I don't care how sexy the owner is.
An Italian restaurateur calls me up, wanting the cell phone of the local restaurant critic. I tell them I don’t know. They tell me they know I know. They want the review retracted. I ask them if their business was affected by the review. They say, no, it’s better than ever; all their friends have come out in support of them. I tell them to count their blessings and hang up the phone and go back into the kitchen.
And so it goes, in my imagination, in my dreams, and in the day-to-day comings of goings on the wine trail in Italy.
Move along now, there's nothing to see here.