I’m not Italian but I married an Italian-American and I love him and his family. They are warm, funny, and welcoming and they know how to enjoy life better than anyone I’ve ever met. We here in the United States know Southern Italians better than we know Nothern Italians because the ones from the south were more likely to come to America to escape poverty – that’s why my husband’s family came. They came and worked their asses off, leaving everytthing they knew and yet making nice lives for their families here in the States.
I make better spaghetti sauce than almost anyone I know because of Great Aunt Annie’s recipe, which whe learned from her stepmother, a woman who came as a kind of mail order bride from Italy and never learned English. Annie gave it to Grandma Passell, who passed it down to my mother-in-law Joyce, who taught me to make it (and everything else ) and now I have shown my daughter. It’s a simple tomato sauce recipe but restaurants should be so lucky to have one half as good.
Grandpa Pecky, who was born in Bagnoli Irpino (near Naples) made his own wine (it was more like a sedative), lived for what he called “happy time” (we know it as “happy hour”) and really loved the good life with friends, food and relaxation. In Bagnoli’s main piazza you’ll find a bust of Leonardo Di Capua, Pecky’s ancestor and the town’s favorite son.
The first time we visited Bagnoli I came back determined to learn the language, and I did. As I studied I started watching Italian movies and I grew to love them.
Put two and two together and you’ll see that I love Italian movies because of southern Italians, and movies like “Benvenuti al Sud” are particularly meaningful.
Want my spaghetti sauce recipe? Yeah well, you can’t have it, but I’ll tell give you the recipe a waiter in Naples gave me for lemon risotto… tomorrow.