It’s been said that there are only two types of people, Italians and people who wished they were Italian. We La Valles always knew we were Italian, and figured we were at least 100% if not more. My mother’s parents were straight off the boat, yet dad’s folks were born in New York City. Lower Manhattan to be precise. Though I never understood much of the language, I certainly understood Italian.
To her dying day, at the ripe tomato age of 84, beloved Grandma Rizzo, the one off the boat, never spoke a word of English. Her (arranged) husband Grandpa Dominick, whom she eventually met and married in Brooklyn, died much earlier and as I recall, neither did he.
As long as she was alive, Sundays meant entire family gatherings for 2 o’clock supper at Grandma’s. That included all seven of her children, their husbands and wives (of which none divorced), along with too many cousins to count.
While growing up, every Sunday meant 2 o’clock supper at Grandma’s. Her main course was of course, homemade pasta. Sometimes it was in the shape of little hats other times cavatelli. Of course there were plenty of meatballs, sausages and bracioles to go around. Oh yeah, and lots of salad, which was always served after the pasta. Dessert meant fresh fruit and her homemade white cake, with melted Hershey bar topping. The cake and everything else she made had no recipe. Just a little of this and some of that made it all happen, including all of the beautiful, love-filled and fond family memories!
Though I reek of garlic, people often ask, “So Bob, are you Italian?” I look at them square in the eyes, prepare my forefinger and middle finger to touch my thumb. Then, with my palm facing up I hold my hand in front of their face, move it up and down and say “shoe (that means ‘sure’)– whadda you think-a!!” Then the ask, “do you speak the language?” And I say, “ shoe — whadda you think-a!!”
But — and that’s a big but, I speak-a my own-a brand-a!
Long story short, without going into all of the tremendously talented musicians, composers, artists, explorers, scientific heroes and Godfather films, I love being Italian. My people!! Just kidding. Well, maybe not really. Oh yeah, Ancestry.Com has proven Roberto LaValle is 99%. You’re probably wondering about the remaining one percent. Well, I’m nott-a gonn-a tell-a!
As Uncle Pasquale (known as Patty), my mom’s youngest brother told me at one of the Sunday gatherings a long, long time ago, to speak Italian, all-a you need-a to do-a is-a put-a an a-a at the end of each word. “Hmmm” I said. That’s e easy (some-a words no-need-a). Now –a I-a can-a speak-a Ital-e!
Ok. Let’s move forward to today’s new world and the “stay at home”, corona-fighting tactic. With nothing much to do but entertain myself and maybe a few others, I took the opportunity to make a little movie about “Oow to make-e No Knead-e Bread-e” and I had a ball. Bobby ‘Scorcesi’ shot the entire movie on his little iPhone using only first takes.
“How to make No-Knead-e Bread” demonstrates everything I know about being a true Italiano!
I- ope-a you enjoy!