All good things must come to an end.
It's been fun cooking my way through Carmela's Entertaining with the Sopranos.
No, more than fun.
It was a reminder of where I came from.
I was an immigrant kid, just off the boat.
Stuck in Queens.
Some of my classmates and neighbors were kind.
Some were not.
Enjoying Ma's cooking was a guilty pleasure.
I loved our food.
Packing leftovers for lunch sometimes led to culture shock moments.
Not good times.
It was the 1950s.
America's idea of Mediterranean was tinned ravioli, a la Chef Boyardee.
An event like Winnipeg's Folklorama was beyond our neighbors' imagination.
The movie Julie & Julia just skimmed the excitement Julia Child brought to America.
Julia Child was truly exotic.
Something some Moms would try for a special event.
The more adventurous Moms.
Cooking my way through Entertaining with the Sopranos wasn't a quest for me.
I was on home turf.
Sometimes I shamelessly substituted.
I wanted to go back to my roots.
And for that I have to thank Michele Scicolone.
She was the true source of the recipes in the cookbook.
Carmela was fiction, but fun.
So was her editor.
Before I tackled Michele's recipes I was a sucker for the newest flavor fashion.
Now I just ignore them.
I mean, who needs raspberry vinegar?
Ma's - and Michele's - recipes have been around for centuries.
I don't think so.
Life is short.
I want to savor foods that feed the soul as well as the stomach.
Thank you, Michele.
And, of course, thank you, Ma.