49 comments on “Sunday Dinner

  1. Oh, my gosh, Paul. I enjoyed every word. It was visual, humorous, poignant and just plain wonderful. Thank you for taking us into your past and sharing your family’s Sunday dinner with us. Definitely one of my favorites.

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  2. Oh, Paul, am in the midst of gardening but just came in and took a peak. Haven’t read any other posts but HAD to read this. I adore it! A great memory for you to be sure but also for me –of happy days with my mother’s parents. Don’t know one of the liqueurs you mentioned and knew stunato but thought it meant dizzy in a sort of affectionate way, flustered and you taught me capotosta. The post is very funny but also so nostalgic— I remember Grandpa with the mandolin after dinner if he hadn’t fallen asleep. Beautifully written– I will reread and reread. Brought me right back to Larchmont where my mother’s parents lived and to the house of my Italian-American boyfriend. Thanks for the wonderful ride!

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  3. I love it. Sunday dinner here was so different to that. A hot roast lamb and 3 veg, Mum and Dad would have a cup of tea. Geez we sound tame, Australia in the 1950’s

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  4. In thinking it over, maybe all the fighting is not a happy memory for you. “Stunata” was not used in an abusive way in my family– more understanding of the Italian propensity for getting overly excited about things and upset and not able to think clearly. I hope your memories were good.

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  5. Aren’t family gatherings great.!!!! I so liked it when I was a child and listened how the adults went on and on. It always started with old Estonia (the one they remembered), from there, for most of the evening, how they escaped from Estonia as the Russians were entering ( who did what, when and how ; how it all came to be but not the politics, just their own circumstances), then the time in Sweden (the hardships, the good times) with less arguments and emotions, and finally Canada – fishing, cars, clothes, everyday stuff. This final stage usually marked the winding down and closing of the gathering shortly after coffee and sweets. I so miss those times. They pithered out slowly as the older generation disappeared. Thank you for this beautiful post and giving me a chance to once again revisit those times gone by. Thank you, thank you!

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  6. One reason the Italians and the Irish got on so well. Exposively so, maybe! My dad’s stories are like this but with a pianola (a relic from his grandparents) rather than a mandoline. You paint a humorous and touching picture.

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  7. I married into an Italian-American family and some of the remnants of these traditions remain but they are slowing fading away with each generation. My husband and I are working hard to bring this close, loving family culture back so our girls have something to anchor them and to carry on.

    Even the arguing comes from those close family ties where we feel safe enough in the family’s love to speak our mind and yet not find ourselves on the outside of the family embrace. Thank you for this wonderful look at the old traditions from your family’s past. May those traditions live on…

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  8. Loved this. I had an Italian friend in Philly that took me home to his mothers house for dinner once when I was there on business. Having a guest in the house was almost as bad as cooking for Sunday. I thought I would never eat again, or as well.

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      • I’ll bet you did. I envy so much of what you describe re marriage and family–a small sin, as the envy’s not ravenous; I’m not running east, pounding on your door with bogus claims of long-lost relationship. Picture the scene: Jan calling to you, “there’s a madwoman here”. You, sighing: it’s just a blogger, see if she knows the secret handshake.

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  9. I’m half Italian and half Irish. Although our gatherings with the Brigallis never went exactly according to your script, you captured plenty that did happen. It’s a wonderful poem.

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  10. As an American newly returned from a 3-year residence in Italy, I truly appreciated this. Such a complete picture of how food and conversation shape the relational culture. Lovely!
    …and how I miss the food and wine of Italia!

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  11. Love the linear movement. In my so-called past I had the pleasure of experiencing those kind of suppers/dinners. The poem evokes the image of family and comfort. Nicely done.

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  12. Pingback: Poetry-Sunday Dinner at an Italian-American Household | The Sincere Gift

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