Friday, July 30, 2004

Cooking in the littlejoe family.

I was talking to my mother this morning, and we got to talking about what I was making for dinner. I told her bbq ribs, and mashed potatoes. She said, "Oh, I could get out my ribs, and you could come over here and cook."

That sounded like a fine idea. So I packed up the ingredients for my bbq sauce, grabbed my small package of country ribs (only 3lbs.) and headed to the folks house.

Now keep in mind, I am cooking for five people. (Wife, mother, father, brother, and myself) When I get there, I discove that my Ma, in all her wonderful glory, has got about 1olbs. Of ribs. I asked her what small country I was cooking for. Her answer was, "Well when I got out one package, your brother said 'aren't you guys going to eat' so I got out the other package."

This whole cooking enough food for twenty people thing was a hard habit to break. I lived with my folks on and off 'til I got married, and used to cook for anyone who might visit. (Siblings, their kids...And so on.) so I got used to making large amounts of food. It took me almost three years of being married before I stopped cooking that much. I finally was able to cook for two. Now I think my mother has reversed the process. When I got there, I was asked if I would make some banana bread. Who am I to turn down my mother? SO I was going to make a loaf of the sweet dense bread. The my Ma got out enough bananas for three loafs. I knew it was going to be one of those days.

So after some toil, and assisted stirring (I am still one armed) we made three loafs of banana bread. It came out deliciously, considering I never, ever measure ingredients. I also started making bbq sauce at this point. I browned some onions, garlic, and parsley, added some lemon juice and vinegar, and procceeded to nearly kill myself with vinegar fumes. After recovering, I added the rest of the ingredients, and turned the heat down so it would simmer for few hours, while I cooked ribs.

Thirteen pounds of ribs is a-fucking-lot of ribs. I seasoned them, put them into a pan that is so large it has no right to be, and threw them into a 450 degree oven. I didn't even bother to brown them. Did I mention that was alot of ribs?

A few hours later, we are all siiting around the table, wondering why in the hell we ate so much, nearly comotose.

That was when I realized that I had become so much like my father it was scary. I remember Sunday dinners, with 20 people in the small 3 bedroom house I grew up in. All of us eating steak, pasta, and various salads. I remember my Dad looking so happy at those times, watching his family eat his creations with such enjoyment (and almost no bloodshed suprisingly).

I think today I finally understand that feeling. You put so much effort into such a transitory thing as food. You wonder why go through the trouble. Then you look at the happy, very full people around the table, and remember that they are the whole reason you did it. I guess for me, cooking is an expression of love.


At 30/7/04 7:00 AM, Blogger Boudicca said...

Are you sure you are not Italian??? :)

At 30/7/04 7:41 AM, Blogger Contagion said...

Oh, he's Italian.. very Italian. I swear if when he bleeds it comes out a nice tomato sauce.

See I only like cooking when I'm in the mood to cook. If I'm not in the mood to cook then I don't like to do it. I'd rather do something else. That and unfrotunantly cooking is time consuming so if you have a family of 4 you need to feed dinner and you only have an hour to cook in, it kind of limits what you make.

At 30/7/04 10:56 AM, Blogger Boudicca said...

I was right?! I just assumed you were of Norse/Celtic heritage like your friends.

I married into a big Italian family. The men spend hours in the kitchen making the sauce. My boys are already learning the perfect sauce from their father. However, I now do most of the cooking and I'm at the point where I can cook for 4 or 20. Just let me know in advance.

When I first got married I was stunned by how much food was put out for Sunday dinner at my Inlaws. Looked like Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving looked like we were feeding a small 3rd world country. Still does. Christmas... fugetaboutit. Unbelievable.

At 30/7/04 11:12 AM, Blogger Graumagus said...

Sunday dinners at Littlejoe's family's house rocked.
I think Joe's mom liked having me there because I was the only non-italian around that could keep up with the consuming.
Kind of like when Joe would come over when you could smell my dad cooking 40 bratwurst for 4 people heheh

At 30/7/04 1:20 PM, Blogger littlejoe said...

Yeah Grau, but you're Dad can do magical things with a bratwurst.

Hey Bou...I am half Italian. I guess the whole size thing threw you off, but we are from northern Italy. We LOOK norse. (Except I got screwed with brown hair and eyes, everyone else got green or blue eyes.)

At 30/7/04 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

south eastern

At 30/7/04 7:53 PM, Blogger Boudicca said...

Yeah, the size thing did throw me. I'm impressed with you caught that! My husband is standard Italian build, 5'6. A friend of mine was in Italy and she said after a day her husband said, "Dawn would LOVE it here! Everyone looks like her husband!"

My mother in law was Northern Italian. Red hair and green eyes. Much different look than my father in law's southern Italy look.

At 30/7/04 11:03 PM, Blogger littlejoe said...

It's not that impressive D., everyone assumes I come from Russian or German descent.

At 31/7/04 12:37 PM, Blogger Anathematized1 said...

Well, we all know the two main mantras in an italian family. "Food is Love" and "Mangè, Mangè!"

The guy I dated from Milano almost died laughing when I said that to him once.

Regarding cooking for small countries: I still haven't managed to learn how to cook for just 1-2 people unless it comes as a "recipe" and I've never been known to follow recipes well (except for baking, the baking powder/soda connection continues to elude me).

At 31/7/04 7:37 PM, Blogger Boudicca said...

First Thanksgiving together at MY family's house, my husband sits down to dinner and says nothing. We start to serve and he finally says, "It's true isn't. My family eats a disgusting amount of food. This is about the size of our Sunday dinner." Of course since he was having Thanksgiving dinner with the Celts, there was 1) no pasta, 2) no eggplant parm, 3) no fruit in between dessert and the meal and 4) only two desserts. We still laugh.

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