|Macy's July 4th by Alex Andrei|
On Independence Day, Roman candles brightened the evening sky as the children twirled sparklers on the sidewalks. Nonna and neighbors gathered on their front porches and waved small American flags reminders of the democracy, equality and freedom they cherished. Italy's flag was no where to be seen....only the Stars & Stripes. To fit in, my ancestors learned English as quickly as they could. In broken English they sang the Star-Spangled Banner and God Bless America and I wondered what it would have sounded like sung in Italian. Among themselves, the adult spoke their mother tongue. It was a familiar sound when the men played pinochle or the women cooked side by side in the kitchen but it was never spoken to the children either by the family elders or my parents. Years later, I found out why, though I regret that we weren't taught that beautiful musical language.
Una Storia Segreta (a secret story)
But on those 4th of Julys celebrated in the Bronx (NY), I was unaware of the "secret story", I was only aware that when the last firecracker exploded in the streets it was time to gather with loved ones in my Nonni's basement kitchen. The long table groaned under the weight of sesame seed studded heros filled with salami, mortadella, ham, provolone & roasted red peppers. Beside dark pans of lasagna were bowls of fried meatballs, platters of eggplant parmigiana, huge green salad dressed with the finest olive oil, balsamic vinegar, kalamata olives and chunks of Gorgonzola, stuffed artichokes and steamed broccoli. There was always meat- maybe a beef or pork roast, roasted chicken or braciole (stuffed & rolled flank steak).
1 1/4-1 1/2 lb ground beef/pork combo
2 teaspoons dry onion soup mix
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
6 slices of bacon, cooked but not crisp
2 Tablespoons ketchup
1 Tablespoon brown sugar (scant)
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
splash of milk
Pre-heat oven 350 degrees.