Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Gathering around a large table...

We love food. Eating dinner with my family is more like playing a full 18 holes of golf than just putting around. Maybe because I am part Italian, or maybe I just like to eat, not sure. As you can imagine it is fortunate that the Big Cheese likes to hit the links with me. OK so we love food, but what we enjoy the most is sharing the time together at the dinner table actually “talking” to each other after a busy day apart "as a family". Eating in or out, once we had the kids we vowed that dinnertime would be our family bonding time and for this reason Mac and Cheese have always been expected to sit at the table for the entire duration of a meal. Sure they are not angels, we have had to endure some small funnel clouds and every now and again a full blown tornado, but for the most part, eating as a family is an important part of our routine both at home and away.

So we wound up our summer vacation last week and I have to say we ended on a high note, high as in that is what the scale said. We truly ate our way up the Atlantic coast, ending in Boston, known for their Italian cuisine and seafood. We were in town for the 4th of July and man did we go out with a bang, actually more like a five lb. bottle rocket. Traveling with my family goes mostly like this, we choose where we are going to eat our next meal and then we search to see what attractions surround that specific restaurant. I am not kidding, as we pass around the Tide stain stick to get the jelly out of our shirts and brush the croissant crumbs off of our jeans we are lining up our next food attraction. Normally, I don't feel that guilty after I indulge because I know that walking the five to ten miles across a city will help to ward off some of the potential weight avalanche but this trip was different. It couldn't come at a worse time as my 20th High School Reunion is less than a month away. So in retrospect maybe I did look a little silly cruising the cobble stone streets of Boston doing arm circles and squats, but did everyone have to stare?

I won't bore you with the play by play of our meals. But since I am part Italian I will write of just one excursion. So we blew into Bean Town on a Friday night, and no sooner had we dropped off our luggage we were off to our first meal, a restaurant called Cantina Italiana. It was boasted as one of the oldest family owned Italian restaurants in Boston and it was every bit authentic. If eating with my family is an an Olympic event...eating with an Italian family is the 26K Marathon. After you "manja" on your antipasto, you will literally have the time to run around the block before your plate of ravioli is served and once again before your main course. Not sure how they do it, but they space out the courses so just enough time passes that you are convinced that you are in fact hungry again. Now wash a four course meal down with a craft of Chianti and you too will be muttering like Marlon Brando. Me, I was "muttering" Italian, I mean hey these were my people and the more Chianti I drank the more I felt myself transform into Carmella Soprano. I even dropped the “a” when I ordered "moozzerell and tomato" salad. I was in my element, or so I thought. I was so comfortable that I made a request to the traveling accordion player. I asked him to play “Aye, yai, yai yai" aka Cielito Lindo. Yes, friends that is a Spanish song, argh, back to Gringo status.

Sure we did other things while in Boston besides eat and drink. We did see the Boston Pops set up for their 4th of July show, tour the children’s museum and the Boston aquarium. We stopped to watch the street vendors perform at Faneuil Hall and took our picture with the "Silver Girl" statue. We walked part of the Freedom Trail and squeezed into the bar from the TV show “Cheers”. We will remember it all, but it is the local food and spending time gathered around a large table with our family we will remember the most. (Although I think the kids will remember eating crab legs with a rock and a lobster bid while ruining their clothes with drawn butter.) In any case, we need to take advantage of these moments while our kids still think we are cool enough to eat dinner with (even if their mother is a poser). What is going to stop them in the next couple of years from plotting their own “Boston Tea Party.” I mean seriously why can’t they?

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