Admit it, you love to snack. So do I. I always have. I feel those cravings, hours after dinner, later at night, when I shouldn’t be eating or drinking anything, but instead, I feel agonizing hunger pains while I wind down and watch television. I’ve been like this as far back as I remember, ever since I was little. But I snack very differently than what you might imagine. Being raised in my parents’ strong Italian household, we lived, in America, but in a house that friends would describe, “like taking a vacation and going to Italy.” Our choice and typical ‘on-hand’ assortment of snacks reflects our ties to the boot, our appreciation for delicious food, and our passion for eating well.
When I am with my parents, sitting in the living room, hours after dinner, watching t.v., varying from WWE to movies, Golden Girls to Godfather, I find myself vulnerable to my cravings. I’ll say, “Papà, ho fame (I’m hungry).” Within seconds, my Dad will say, “You wanna prosciutto e sopresata?” And, of course, as I have for the past 30 years, still say, “Yes. Yes I do.”
He goes downstairs to the ‘fruit cellar’ (where prosciutto legs hang free and long sausage links resemble Christmas garland) and then off to the second kitchen (Italian immigrants often have more than one kitchen – one to keep nice – one to get crazy and make tons of food) – and he would return within fifteen minutes with a plate full of various salumi, olives, whatever available – cheeses, peppers – and always, bread. This ‘antipasto’ assortment is one of my favorite foods (one of those that, yes, I could see myself eating every day).
My Dad is one of my best friends – and that’s just one of many things that make him the Best Dad in the World. He’s my Hero and one of the sweetest, most caring, selfless people I know. He’s also incredibly gifted – he knows how to do everything and build anything, including making homemade prosciutto, sausage, sopresata, pancetta, lardo, ricotta, basket cheese, and the list goes on – and his skill has fed my snack habit as far back as I remember. I know the basics but have laid out an aggressive “2013 Salumi Plan” for later this year. I aspire to become a master, just like my Dad, at this fine, rare, old-world art.