I’m a half breed. As in, half Italian, half Irish. While I do love my meat and potatoes and I’ve been known to consume a little too much on St. Patty’s Day, I really do consider myself more Italian. Chill…I’m not out to start another Catholic/Protestant War. It’s probably because of the way I was raised and the fact that my WHOLE ITALIAN FAMILY OF 100 PLUS people live within a 5 mile radius of each other. Not kidding. I could literally throw a rock and hit my grandma’s house. Not that I would try, because I’m pretty sure she’d come out and beat me with a wooden spoon. She’s a feisty lady for being 80.
With the family so close together it’s inevitable that they’ll be all over your grill about everything. I don’t consider this a bad thing. We have amazing traditions, our food and cookies are ridiculously delicious, and there is always some family drama that keeps the day exciting (like the time grandma fell off the roof. Yea, that was awesome. It was like a circus for months). Listen Lady, my husband and I chose to stay in the area and live near our family so that we could pass these traditions and ridiculous dysfunctions on to our kids. Because screwing them up ourselves is just out of the question! What else is family for, right?
Anyways, we always gather at my grandma’s house for major holidays like Christmas and then we throw in the occasional random bank holiday like Labor Day. It’s completely arbitrary because instead of celebrating all the hard work we do the other 364 days of the year by just relaxing, we go and have a party and create more work for ourselves.
The annual picnic tradition is that my grandma handles all the hamburgers and hotdogs and my aunts and cousins all bring a dish to pass. That is, except for the gnocchi (go type that into Wikipedia cause I know you didn’t pronounce it correctly). It’s not a picnic unless you have macaroni DAMNIT. Grandma insists on boiling at least 10 pounds of pasta for these semi-small events. (as a side; semi-small for us is about 25). I’m not sure why this is considered appropriate picnic food for our family. You would think that tiny balls of dough that clump together in your stomach to create a mass aren’t really lite fare. In all the other picnics I’ve attended a bowl of pasta with sauce has NEVER been on the menu, but then again who else eats deep fried weeds? My mouth is watering just thinking of them.
You better be wearing a rosary if you even SUGGEST to grandma that we go without the gnocchi for the picnic. SINNER. I mean, we wouldn’t have nearly enough food then with all the hamburgers and hotdogs and salads and potato’s and corn and…do I need to keep going?!? We could feed a small brigade with the food that is made. Throw in the gnocchi and I could feed the state of Rhode Island for a week Lady! OK, maybe 5 days.
Did I forget to mention that grandma also makes meatballs, sausage, and pepperoni for the sauce too?