Lets Not Be Snowflakes

Paul B

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The Italian Market I am going to in a couple of hours has a great bakery. Around here we don't have good bakeries which we miss from the old neighborhood.
Before this virus thing we had another trip planned to Arthur Ave, in the Bronx which is the last real Italian market left in New York. We hope to get back there soon.
You just can't get that food anywhere any more. As soon as you walk in there is a guy rolling cigars with big leaves in 200 year old wooden barrels.
(I don't smoke cigars but I like the smell of the raw tobacco)

They are making pasta in huge bunches and hanging it. The meat comes on whole cows and they cut it up in front of you and the same with the fish.
And you can buy 100lb slabs of cheese. (In case Humble wants a grilled cheese sandwich)

The area is only about 4 blocks long.

In the warm weather the shops sell on the sidewalk

I grew up in a very Italian home and I don't want to eat bland food as I have been spoiled. Uncle Guisepi's market where I am going today comes a little close but it's only one store. I am sure it's hard now for them to get the food from Italy.

We Americans are spoiled when it comes to food.
I don't know what we do to food here but compared to Europe where most of our parents or Grand Parents come from, there is no comparison.
Olive oil here is just oil. Like Sunoco. Some better than others but none of it is really good olive oil. You can't get it here.

In Italy, when they open a bottle of olive oil, you can smell it all over the restaurant. Oil here you have to put on a Q-Tip and stick it up your nose and it still is sort of bland. I pay sometimes fifty bucks for a liter of oil and it's better, but not great. The Europeans keep the good stuff for themselves and I don't blame them.
Spain makes more oil than Italy.

We were in Sicily once and there was this crowd around this little tree. The guide was saying how old this tree was and I figured, OK, it's an old tree.
Who cares
Then the people walked away and there was this beautiful, almost naked girl leaning on the tree. She was a model and a photographer was there taking pictures of her.
Then I stayed because I was very interested in that particular tree. :love:
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Paul B

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We were in Sicily looking for my Grand Father's house. He came here in about 1902. So we hired this guide. She was about 18 and looked like Gina Lollobrigida with the boots, leather vest, hair, ear rings, all sorts of make up, a cigarette and her cell phone taped to her head.

The kid was gorgeous and it was 8:00am.
She was going to be our guide and translator. So she comes in a 9 person van with a driver for the two of us. We go to their "Town Hall" which looked like a prop from "Ben Hur". The place looked to be 500 years old, donkeys included. The woman inside (who probably knew Ben) comes to the desk with a book from the movie "The Black Cauldron" I am surprised this old woman could even pick it up.

My name is Baldassano and there were pages and pages of Baldassano's. As a matter of fact, every Baldassano in the world comes from that small fishing village in Sciacca.

The "Mayor" is named Baldassano.
Anyway we get the address to my Grand Father's house and the Miss Lollobrigida guides us while asking people on the "street" for directions.

WE come up to this guy, and Gina is asking him about the house and he is answering in Italian as she translates.
We are doing this for 10 minutes and I heard the guy say something in English.

I said, wait a minute, You speak English! He said Yeah, I spent 40 years in Bayonne New Jersey. Like Duh, Is it me?

He pointed up to this small house on the hillside overlooking the fishing port and said, that is your Grand Fathers house.
It was a tiny stone, almost a hut nestled on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea.

Then we walked the docks waiting for the Mayor to get up. Nino, is also "connected" like everyone there so no one will wake him up.
They told us to go to the cafe and wait. So we go there and they sell all these pastries that I thought my Mother made up the names for.
Sicily speaks a different dialect than the rest of Italy so things are named differently.

We picked the pastries my Mother used to make and I said to the guy. How Much?
He said "Baldassano, forget about it".

OK, Nino didn't get up yet so we went to dinner. We sat outside in a place that had two tables. The table where the guy told us to sit had a huge basket of laundry on it which took up the whole table,

The guy yelled up to the window in Italian, Hey Nina, get rid of this.
Nina sticks her head out and using a rope, raises the laundry up about 7' off the table where it stayed for our dinner.

I don't hardly speak Italian as my Dad died in 1959, so I ordered the first thing on the menu.
My dinner came and it was a plate of baby octopus and a bunch of fish that looked like whole copper banded butterflies. The way it comes out of the sea, thats the way you eat it. They throw some olive oil on it and thats it.
I thought my family was weird because thats the way they ate. I prefer my copperband butterflies filleted. :rolleyes:

The bill came and I said "How Much?" The guy said "Baldassano, Forget about it".
In Europe, if people there have your name, especially the Mayor, they treat you like Royalty. :)


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Paul, I hope your outing to the Italian market was successful today, and that you snagged some yummy goodies at the bakery, in addition to whatever else you were searching for. The big, blocks-long Italian market in the Bronx sounds like a nearly day-long experience; I hope you can get back there soon after all of the virus issues abate. What a neat thing!

I had no idea you were so famous---not only here, but also in Italy! 😂