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So, I’ve been exploring my whole Italian heritage thing lately. I’m trying to learn the language, want to learn a recipe or two, and I’m saving for a trip to the “Old Country.” While I’m trying to keep a positive outlook and perceive all of these goals as equal in feasibility, the more reasonable (or cynical, take your pick) side of me lists my goals in the following degrees of feasibility:

1) Learn some Italian recipes
2) Learn Italian
3) Go to Italy

Yes, I put learning an entire language above making it across the ocean. I looked up airfare and they aren’t kidding around.

So, I have level one of Rosetta Stone and also bought an Italian grammar workbook. I’m trying my best to pocket extra cash when I can. And finally, I bought an Italian cookbook (so clearly I’m not pocketing extra money that well):

I know, I know. Allow me to explain myself.

It all started when I began looking for a good Sunday gravy recipe. Gravy is an amazingly delicious tomato sauce that involves cooking several different types of meat. The different flavors from the meat make the sauce taste incredible. Seriously, I had some in Rhode Island and nearly licked my plate clean. My mother always made a simple spaghetti sauce that she learned from her mother, but to my recollection she never made gravy.  Understandably so–it’s a big production and leaves you with a ton of food.

I’ve asked my uncle for family recipes before, but he’s a wing-it-and-swing it kind of guy regarding recipes and quite frankly that scares the hooey outta me right now. I had my aunt mail me some of my grandmother’s recipes, but most of them were old 50’s-type recipes (I guess she knew the Italian ones in her head.) So I set about finding a good gravy recipe online and again and again stumbled across this Sopranos cookbook. I’ve never seen the show but I scoffed at the idea of having a cookbook based on a series about the mob. After reading reviews and recognizing several more recipes that I wanted to attempt, however, I decided to buy it. I received it in the mail over the weekend and looking through it has been so fun. I’ve even recognized some recipes that my mother served when I was little (my mother has long since given up making these recipes because they’re fattening. To which I say phooey). This has made me feel infinitely better about my purchase and I look forward to trying a few of them out.

I’ll let you know how it goes. Of course, all of the recipes make a ton of food, so don’t be surprised if I ask you to take some off my hands!