I’m not naturally nostalgic, but I miss the tradition of sharing food with neighbours and buddies. “Tradition” is too strong a word — perhaps I mean “custom.”
Growing up, Mummy pressed a few brownies on a plate to my friends as they emerged from the basement after one of our high school Hearts fests. (You know, I’d love to have a gaggle of girlfriends who’d join me for cards and Fresca at four in the afternoon and fight about what music would hit the turntable.) Because one never returned an empty plate, I knew it would wing back home with a dozen of Mrs. Horne’s peanut butter cookies tucked under wax paper.
Nonna was the all-time greatest food gifter. As I dragged myself up the back stairs at 1208 W. Lexington after a long day in high-end retail, I never knew what would be sitting on the steps. Chicken Cacciatore over polenta? Canned fruit suspended in Jello? Spaghetti and meatballs.? I understand her generosity now: We cook for two and we eat a lot of leftovers. Annunziata Rovai, God love her, cooked her own meals until she was over a hundred years old. Of course she wanted to share.
I’m thinking about all this stuff because a friend and neighbour walked through my open front door this afternoon and presented me with his Polynesian Skewers — pineapple, bacon, shrimp, chicken, peppers and bacon, right off the grill. I smiled: I knew Dale Simpson when he had his original front teeth.
Bacon on a skewer is brilliant. Little Dale, you brought them on a paper plate, so I can’t return it covered with cheesecake. But thanks, Kid, for , well — sharing.