It’s almost Thanksgiving and I haven’t told my aunt and uncle that I will be late. I will be over an hour late, and I will have missed the meatballs, chilled shrimp, mozzarella balls, frittata, and stuffed mushrooms.
We like to follow a strict schedule, and so no one will wait for me before dinner starts. We are rudimentary like an army. We start at 11 with side meals and start our main meal at 1:30 before eating dessert buffet at 3:15, sandwiches spread at 5:30 and another dessert buffet at 6:45.
Apart from the main meals that my aunt and uncle will prepare, almost everyone brings food along. My brother will come with pumpkin pies, my sister will come with an apple pie, and other guests will come with pecan pies. This is not to talk about the cupcakes, brownies, cookies, ice cream, cakes and other things that people will bring along.
We are typically about 50 or so at dinner, but we have enough food that can feed 500 people. Italian-Americans have always loved food, and we look out for opportunities and occasions to share food with each other.
Thanksgiving is just another occasion for us to share our love of good food. I once told them that I was dieting, and I was made to eat double my usual portion. I had to taste everything, and there is usually a wide variety of food. Talk of ham, turkey, chicken, marshmallow, potato, yams and other food. There are usually different versions of each food, and you usually pick the version that you like the most. But, each version is made surplus so everyone could try out something if they wanted to.
And of course, we never forget the pasta. How could we? Pasta is part of us, and we are inseparable. Sometimes we try to cut back, but not everyone agrees on that. You cut off a dish this occasion, and that becomes the specific dish that someone asks for.
Some are experimenters that try everything. But most of the older people stick to a particular dish every time. They have their favorites, and they stick to them all year long.
Sometimes, I reflect on all this and think to myself that we are a wasteful bunch encouraging obesity and waste of food. But I think to myself again, it’s all fun and family. So, I don’t tell others about my diet and I tuck in and stuff myself full till I’m about to burst.
Thanksgiving for us is about generosity and showing that you treasure others. Our aunt and uncle show their love for us by providing as much food as they can. We reciprocate our love by bringing food along too. Food is an important aspect of the family to Italian Americans.
At the end of the day, everyone takes home special doggie bags with enough turkey, pasta, stuffing, pies, cookie and other food items to make a quick meal whenever we feel like. You see your doggie bag at home, and you remember the nice time you spent with your family.