Sunday is funday in most Italian houses (even for some of us who usually live outside Italy). It’s a chance to get together with the extended family and talk and eat and eat and eat some more. Notice a theme? Well, last Sunday (yesterday) was a religious holiday in Italy; it was the Feast of the Immaculate Conception and the day set aside for decorating for the holidays. Even though my in-laws live together and eat together every day, yesterday they put out a special spread. The star of the show was the meat we grilled right in the family fireplace. We also regularly char our bread in there. Talk about snap, crackle, and pop!
Sausage and lamb fresh from the fire was an experience. I’m not a big fan of lamb, but that sausage was crispy on the outside and smoky and flavorful on the inside. It was a delicious start to the holiday season and brought me back to childhood. My father would bring us to Italy, have us a hike the mountains of Buceto (a wooded area here in Ischia), make a fire, and cook a picnic for us. The scent of the fire is all it takes to bring me back to those happy moments, and the addition of the meat made those long-ago days seem all the more recent.