Monday, August 2, 2010

The Story of Peaches and Chianti , What's Cookin' Inspiration


Featured picture, Peaches and Chianti. Fresh peaches with Chianti poured over them.....the wine bottle was our Grandma Victoria, who past on at the age of 94 in 1975. The bottle is over 88 years old..... I still have it in 2013 my cherished possession and always will, until it's passed on to my kids.





So this is where it all began the "familia" My hometown was in Utica NY. Many called it Little Italy. Fabulous restaurants, with years of experienced cooks from all over Italy had made their roots there and the food still after the early 1900's remains a memorable experience of traditional cooking of Italian foods.

My family originated in Rome Italy. My grandmother and grandfather couldn't speak a word of English or write. Her cooking was amazing. I still remember the round loaves of dense delicious homemade breads, fantastic egg noodles, and fried dough. Her polenta was full of wonderful flavor topped with ragu style sauce. Then my favorite, she would make a chicken and pea's in a large fry pan, the sauce would stick to your fingers when you picked it up and if you used a napkin it would rip off and stick to you hand too, but talk about finger lickin good sauce, it was so amazing, I've never been able to duplicate it,and neither did my parents. My mom was from Bari, she cooked a whole different Region of foods, nothing like my grandmother, but were fabulous but different. Amazing how two people could make sauce with the exact same ingredients and not taste anything alike. I am sure you all know what I mean, its a mystery!
Every Sunday would be pasta day in our Italian home. After dinner as tradition goes, on a hot summer day, our dad would cut up fresh peaches in the height of the season and pour Chianti over them for dessert. This was after the espresso and sambucca.. Cheers to the memory of our dad Carmen.
 
Here's our story.....would love to hear  about all your traditions you have passed down to your family. All comments welcome.
As it goes, there are stories to tell in every family background. Our Italian heritage growing up and still today continue to be strong on what we did as children in our family households. My brothers and I have instilled these traditional values down to our kids, and they remain proud to carry on the legacy of Italian cooking and in our case has still become key to keeping the memories of where it all started, still alive in our kitchens....It wasn't a Sunday without fried meatballs for breakfast first...and then someone had to grate the fresh cheese, which was my eldest brother John in our case. Then there was brother Luke, testing the sauce to see what spice was missing by ripping off fresh bread and dipping that hot loaf of crusty bread in the pot of sauce.We would start our dinner with soup with escarole in it, then a huge antipasto, pasta of some kind, usually ziti or rigitoni....then meatballs, sausage, braciole would accompany .....It all started early on a Sunday, every week all day. Mom and Grandma would cook so much food, you were comatose and ready for nap from eating so much! The family would pile in at around 10:30....and we would eat until 7:00pm until we would all felt we were so stuffed we couldn't move and got our full share.... by taking home all the food left over was enough to feed the entire block plus  we all had enough food to take home for a week!!!!!!!.....great memories still live on. That sauce taste lingers in your mind forever. The way the sauce stuck to the meat, the meatballs frying, the smell of  freshly grated cheese, soup simmering, and of course dad preparing his peaches and Chianti for dessert.  The conversations,  our love for each other and closeness has separated through only miles, but there's not a week  that goes by without keeping in touch,  talking, emailing and now texting or Skype or now face time on Iphone and the list goes on!

 The families sure have grown since those days. The best part is the children have a deep understanding of traditions and family to pass on to their families. They all want to  keep in touch and learn about those good ole days, and when we all are together, it was just like we never left that table in the old days, we keep the memories and traditions going from generation to generation.  Hope this gave you all a smile on how good life is with passing on your families traditions.....we all have them in Italian families.

If you would like to make Peaches and Chianti, all dad would do is sprinkle sugar over some sliced peaches and let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours. When he was ready for this special treat, he poured the Chianti over the peaches then leave them at room temperature for a few hours. That's it. Oh and when they had extra money, strawberries would be added!   Enjoy!  Thanks for reading!

+claudia lamascolo  Author


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