Today’s Mardi Gras! You know, parades, masks, hurricanes and King Cake. Our family doesn’t celebrate the day as much anymore. I guess we got too busy. But when I was younger this was a big day. Carnevale! For us it was all about family getting together to eat (we put the Fat into Fat Tuesday), to talk and if the wine flowed a little too freely to sing.
We’re Italian so we didn’t eat the traditional Mardi Gras foods. For us it was polenta. I know, peasant food but hey you can’t deny your roots. Don’t worry though by the time we added sausage, ribs, olive oil, garlic and parmesan cheese we had a meal fit for a king (at least we thought so!).
When the family all lived on the same street we would have about 30 people around the table. A huge pot of polenta would be spread right on the table, covered with meat (we didn’t use red sauce too much although it was available). Then we would dig in. We usually tried to cut off pieces so that eventually we ended up with the map of Italy, made from polenta, on the table. Great fun!
As the family moved away from the old neighborhood my Mom and Dad would host Carnevale just for our family. It was good to get there early since it was one of the few meals they made together. Needless to say there was “serious discussion” about the right way to cook, to serve, etc. My poor father tried hard but he was usually wrong and Mom was right.
Unfortunately the tradition seems to be ending. Too bad, because while it lacked the glitter and history of New Orleans it was still a blast. Wait I still have a couple of hours, hmmmmn?