Sunday Lunch in Italy

I finished my plate of homemade flour gnocchi quickly because it was smooth, light, and delicious. © Photo by Francesca Di Meglio

I finished my plate of homemade flour gnocchi quickly because it was smooth, light, and delicious. © Photo by Francesca Di Meglio

Thank God Sunday comes only once a week. Getting through Sunday lunch in Italy (or with Italian Americans in New Jersey for that matter) requires stamina and physical strength. Expect to eat your weight in pasta and pastries — and then work it off by washing pots sticky with red sauce and a million and one dishes and glasses. You can’t use paper or plastic on Sunday, after all.

Last Sunday, I had lunch at the home of my cousins Gigino and Flavia and their children Fausto and Angela. We laughed, we ate, we ate some more, we laughed some more. Passing the day with them is a pleasure with or without food — but there’s always food. In honor of my attendance at Sunday lunch, Flavia made homemade gnocchi, with flour but no potatoes. The gnocchi were light and delicious and smothered in a red sauce with meat, which we ate as our second dish. We also feasted on salad, eggplant rolled and stuffed with chopped meat, and freshly grilled pork. Just when we thought our stomachs would explode if we took another bite, we delighted in Italian pastries — everything from cream puffs to lobster tails (the kind with cream in a flaky pastry shaped like a lobster and not the fish). And they didn’t even let me help wash the dishes. To view pictures of the fun we had on Sunday, visit the photo album “Sunday Lunch in Italy“.

Italians and Irons – Ironing Out Our Differences

A typical Italian iron © Photo by Francesca Di Meglio

A typical Italian iron © Photo by Francesca Di Meglio

Anyone who has ever lived in Italy knows that Italians, especially women, have an obsession with ironing. An iron like the one above, which my husband and I received as a wedding gift last year, is a prized posession of many an Italian woman. I personally think it looks like something that the aliens who dropped in from Mars might leave on your doorstep. And I have never used it. As I understand it, you fill that bottom part with water, so you can iron everything from sheets to button-down shirts without having to continually add water as you would with traditional irons. Americans would never purchase such an iron because none of us do enough ironing to justify that much water in the tank. Perhaps, in the States, we could use this iron to boil water for tea. In any event, you can read about how the Italians judge me for my anti-ironing ways at the About.com Newlyweds site in a blog I recently wrote. Do me a favor: take a stand and don’t iron anything today.