a picnic in the garage9th entry – august 2014

Aug-13 113In Sault Ste Marie, it’s very common to have an outdoor meal in the garage. The weather is not summer enough to eat outside and the outside doesn’t have hot water, a sink, a refrigerator, or a stove to make the meal efficient. Also, it may be a picnic in a garage, but you don’t forgo plates, silverware and glasses – two sizes tall for water and short for wine. (In Calabria, they would have been under an olive tree or a quercia. Dam the conveniences, they had the sun, the shade, the landscape and the family.) Today, the weather was very chilly; we all wore long-sleeves and the garage door stayed closed.

The menu and I’ll start at the bottom of the image – home-made wine in a half-liter carafe capped with tin-foil (my uncle’s wine is very good.), stuffed green peppers, antipasti (green olives from Calabria), home-made tortellini, antipasti (home-made prosciutto and soppressata), dandelion fritters (mary’s favorites), and hard to see are the stuffed eggplant (the eggplants are from the garden. my uncle doesn’t eat eggplant, but he grows them for my aunt.) and a third antipasti plate of various cheeses. Next course were the salads – tomato and basil (the tomatoes and basil are also from my uncle’s garden. there was home-made bread to sop up the tomato and olive oil juices.), dandelion (my favorite), and cucumber (in the muto family not everyone likes the tomatoes and cucumbers mixed, so my aunt make two separate salads.) My dad and Ron must have been hungry; they were the first ones to sit down.

Given the abundance, I had the stuffed peppers which were wonderful (the ration of chopped meat to rice was skewed to the rice side, the meat was only there for flavor.), dandelion salad (my aunt told us that she had send my uncle to pick them back in the spring and that he had gone up to the field that once housed the paper-mill that my grandfather worked at. she froze the greens knowing that mary and i would appreciate them in august. mary likes the fritters best, i like the leaves in salad and it’s the one salad where i like extra vinegar.) and to finish my second course i filled my plate with tomato salad and got my bread ready to sop up the juices.

Coffee and dessert finished the picnic, but they are never served outside. For these, we all went inside. The table in the upstairs-kitchen was laden with pies and home-made cookies. Mary made coffee using the fancy, stove-top espresso makers. (Every Italian in Sault Ste Marie like every Italian in Calabria has two kitchens – a basement kitchen, called a rustic kitchen in Calabria and situated on street level, for family meals and an upstairs-kitchen for company and desserts.) I just had espresso no Sambuca chaser, no five-berry pie and no amaretto cookies.