Monday, February 25, 2008

A Wonderful BBQ

The Church Lady is the one seated on the left.
I know the picture quality is poor but security was tight and I had to use my clandestine, C.I.A. issued shoe camera to take this picture in the church!

The beauty pageant before the big BBQ.
From the left to right:
 Daniella, Davide's wife, currently in her 13th month of pregnancy
Titziana, Salvo's wife
Roberta, Claudio's girlfriend
Federica, Lucky's wife
Our hostess, Ika,  Tony call me Pony's wife

In Sicilia, as in America, every man in his heart knows he can build a better BBQ fire than any other man. Here Lucky, on the left, and Davide, on the right, second guess Pony's fire starting techniques. 

In red, Fortunato, a.k.a., Lucky
In blue, Ika, a.k.a.,
"The Pride of Amarillo's Cap Rock High School"

Antonello, a.k.a., "Tony call me Pony", our host, chasing his two year old son Federico who it turned out is wise beyond his years.

Salvo, in white, and Claudio, in blue, discussing the correct way to clean ricotta cheese off your hands. Matt with his hood over his white hat is about to go into a state of torpor.

Davide's dream is to be the next great Italian international motorcycle champion.

Future Elefanti linebackers Alicia, left, and Federico enjoy a moment recalling how they gang-tackled one of Lucky's boys earlier in the day.

Lucky and Francesca's son Simone on the left and Pony and Ika's boy Ruggero on the right.
Two baby faced assassins in the Elefanti's future defensive schemes.

At the BBQ, Brandon, Matt and Claudio relaxing between sausage servings.

LAURIE IN ROMA: Three more days! This is like waiting for Christmas morning  when you are 8 years old and have known for two weeks that your parents have hidden your new bike in the attic! It’s all about anticipation!!!
Sunday started off on a low note when the Mass in Aci Trezza lasted 42 minutes! The reason was the gospel which was about four times as long as usual, what could the priest do but read it. After Mass I saw the priest storm out of the church in street clothes visibly upset at letting the congregation down.
When you arrive at church before the start of Mass you are greeted by a group of women who fill the church with their voices as a mature woman we shall call “The Church Lady” leads them in chanted prayer. She calls out a chant and the other ladies repeat it instantly and loudly. I have been led to believe that “The Church Lady” was at one time the Padrina (Godmother) of the Curva Nord section of Calcio Catania, leading the crowd in hundreds of soccer related chants. Now barred from Stadio Massimo for rioting and having found God while in prison serving a six month sentence for disorderly conduct at a public sporting event, she instead chants in the more dignified venue that is San Giovanni Battista Catholic Church. When the Mass ends, she is back at it for about five more minutes. The whole time she is chanting she keeps looking back over her shoulder to see who is and who isn’t following her lead. Another week or two and I know she is going to call me out in front of the flock for nonparticipation. I really hope that she isn’t packing an oak ruler with a metal straight edge!
Davide called us just before we were leaving to drive up to Taormina again. He invited us to a BBQ at Tony call me Pony’s family summer cabin in the foothills of Catania. Thank goodness we said yes and changed our plans!
The thing I really like about the Elephants is that we really do act like family. Back in the states, the high school players are too young to hang out with and there are just enough parents with axes to grind that you have to be very cautious in socializing with the parents. Here in Catania we are all adults and we tend to all be on the same page. Today’s BBQ was a good example.
When we arrived at Pony’s we were greeted by Davide and , WR Salvo as opposed to the LB Salvo, Fortunato call me Lucky, Claudio and, of course, Tony call me Pony and their wives and children. In Claudio’s case it was his girlfriend Roberta (her smile again lit up the patio area as the sun went down).
We brought three bottles of red wine and they brought every possible type of meat and dessert imaginable. Although the food was fantastic it was the family atmosphere that was even better. I especially liked watching the interaction between the six male children, 2 each for Salvo, Lucky and Pony. Davide and Daniella still have about a month to go before their first, Alessandro, is born. The craziest one of the bunch had to be Pony and Ika’s lone daughter Alicia. She may grow up to be the first female Elefanti if she can just keep her intensity, being the only girl in a sea boys, at this level for a few more years.
It was obvious that these people have been friends for a long time and truly care about each other and their families. Being graciously welcomed into this family setting on this glorious afternoon will be one of my fondest memories of Catania.
Except…There was one huge, depressing bit of news we were given at this otherwise joyous BBQ. The men got the four Americanos together for a discussion and you could tell by their faces and body language that something bad was about to happen. Their purpose was to inform us that ricotta cheese is not produced due to spoilage issues during the summer months in Sicilia. This means that starting in about May, cannolli will no longer be served until the Fall, long after we are back in the U.S.A.! WE WERE STUNNED TO SAY THE LEAST! There was talk of our leaving Catania and abandoning the Elefanti in midseason after the last cannolli is crafted. Cooler heads prevailed and someone, Pony and Ika’s two year old son Frederico I think, told us to suck it up, reminding us that after all summer IS gelato season! Out of the mouths of babes…
Salvo eased our pain by bringing cannolli from a new pasticceria, Fratelli Di Bella (Via Battiati 1, Aci Bonaccorsi if you are in the neighborhood and hungry). These cannolli had good slant, fine pistacchio, ricotta made by the hands of angels and the mandatory blizzard of powdered sugar. These may give Savia’s a real test if they meet head to head in Jason’s B.C.S. Cannolli Championships. I give Savia’s a small edge due to the crispness of their shell, which is of great importance to our expert Matt Obi Won Cannolli. We may have to sample more cannolli to be certain.


itzbfitz said...

...and when that bike comes out of the attic, I bet you're gonna ride it.

George said...

Hey Skippy,

This is a FAMILY SHOW!