Dinner with La Famiglia
Aci Sant'Antonio Travel Blog› entry 10 of 15 › view all entries
October 4th, 2009 – by: puttyland
Mom was up early, starting the cooking. I had only been speaking with Ale and Lino via text, and as best I could figure, there were 7 of them coming - possibly up to 10, so I set the table for 13, figuring there were 6 of us and most likely 7 of them, and if a few more showed up, some of us could sit on the couch or stand. I knew Zia Pina and Zio Carmelo were in Catania to stay with their daughters, so they were coming, but I wasn’t sure we’d see anyone else from Gagliano until we went there.
The party was planned for 2pm, with dinner at 3pm. At 12:45 there was a car beeping at the gate, and sure enough, some of the relatives showed up an hour and a quarter early.
I didn’t recognize the first car-load of relatives. As they got out of the car, I briefly wondered if word got out that rich Americans were feeding people for free, and the whole town of Gagliano was going to show up. One cousin practically ran over to me asking if I was Patrizia, and then pulling out a photo of him as a 5-year-old with my Uncle Mike and Aunt Mary, explaining he was Aunt Giovanna’s son. I didn’t even know who Aunt Giovanna was. Then, as the rest of his family reached the house, he explained that Giovanna is Giuseppina, Antonina and Petrina’s other sister - the one I never knew existed!
And the cars kept coming. About 23 people in all (plus the 6 of us).
The cousins all took a tour of the house - marveling at how big it was and taking photos.
Of course, we had only planned for a dinner for 13...now it was more like 30. Luckily, my parents always cook for an army. I said to some of the relatives that I was worried we would not have enough food - we didn't know everyone was coming. They said not to worry, that they really just wanted to see us. But still. We (Mom, Dad, Me, Liz, Mags) didn’t eat any of the chicken oreganata, and only had little bits of the roasted veggies, the sausage. and the cavatelli with broccoli. Everything went over great - except for the cavatelli, which Dad and I think Mom over-sauced (and overcooked). The Sicilians don't like the massive amount of sauce that the Americans like - it's just a little flavoring to them. And they never overcook their pasta here - sacrilege!
Liz, Mags and I had bought pastries from Cafe Vittorio in Aci ? (there are 7 Aci towns, and I never knew which one I was in).
I took photos and videos, but it didn’t seem like enough. It was overwhelming trying to be everywhere and try to have conversations and translate, etc. Lots of kids were there too, and they were having fun with the 3 little kittens in the yard, and the soccer ball Dad found back there, and they all wanted to go in the pool, but the weather stayed drizzly until the way end of the day when everyone left and it cleared up. Ale was playing billiards with some of the kids.
At some point, everyone migrated outside. After some more chat, they asked when we would be coming to Gagliano. The aunts all said that Thursday would be best, so we said we would see them then.
They stayed for 4 hours, and it was absolutely surreal...and exhausting! I’m lucky I was even dressed! It felt like a Fellini movie - complete chaos, loud, big personalities, funny, moving. After they left, we all just plopped down on one of the side patios with a bottle of wine and relaxed. A great day.
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