Thursday, April 4, 2013

Locatelli, of course

I am not Italian, but my cousins are.  Growing up, I remember that they always had grated pecorino romano in their refrigerator and to be honest, I didn't get it.  Why put that stuff on your delicious pizza or casserole or whatever?  This, coming from a girl who ate noodles with butter instead of tomato sauce (which I now know to call "gravy").

Even though "Campbell" isn't technically an Italian name, my in-laws are truly Italian.  My Father-in-Law inherited the last name from a biological father he never met, but was raised by his 100% Italian mother, his 100% Italian step-father, and their family business was running a 100% Italian bakery in lower Manhattan.  Lou's mother?  As Italian as "La Cosa Nostra." 

So when we first got married and she gave me her recipe for the family meatballs and gravy, I thought, "how hard can it be?  Just follow the instructions."  Tons of meat, tomatoes, plenty of time to cook.  It wasn't until I had my hands deep in the chopped meat that I realized "some of this"... and "a little of that"... is very vague.  "Add breadcrumbs."  Ummm, how much?  "Add cheese"  Umm, again, how much?  What kind of cheese?  "Not too soft, not too hard."  Really?  I finally gave in and called her.  Over the course of the conversation I realized that she unintentionally <wink, wink> omitted the eggs from the recipe, Mama Barone style (Everybody Loves Raymond), and when I asked her what kind of cheese she answered "Locatelli, of course!" as if no other cheese even exists.  Mom - if you're reading this - you know I'm teasing and I love you like crazy :)   I'm so happy to have you and your wonderful recipes.

I went to the supermarket for the Locatelli, had to ask where to find it, and as soon as I saw the tub of grated cheese I recognized it from my cousin's house years ago!  Clearly it's an Italian thing.  Of course, I have converted and my refrigerator has never been without a tub of Locatelli since.  Just like my Aunt Janie converted when she married my Uncle Pete Zappulla!

I'm telling you this because Ty loved Nana's meatballs.  He loved Locatelli cheese!  He didn't eat macaroni and cheese, he ate pasta with Locatelli like a true Italian baby.  Tonight, when I was sprinkling some on my own leftover meatballs that Mom sent me home with last night, I pictured his little chubby fingers... how he used to insist on squeezing and crumbling all the little balls over his pasta.  He did that from the time he was one year old, for as long as his little body would let him.  I relish in the memory and I love that I will be able to see his hands every single time I use "sprinkle cheese" as he called it. 

I think we have a fan all the way in Sarajevo, too.  I wonder how Mely is coping without any Locatelli in Bosnia :)  She always made Ty's Ditalini noodles just right for him.  Over the last few months with Ty, he had a joke that he always played on me.  He would ask for me to make him "noo-noos" but then he wouldn't eat them!  I would get so frustrated.  Then Mely would come in and say "don't you dare eat my noodles!!!" and Ty would gobble up a mouthful.  He was always such a clown and a little prankster.  We all are.  I swear that little boy was made up of pure laughter stitched together with giggles on a string. 

Goodnight my little Goofball

Missing you both so so very much

Happy Birthday to my Granny in Heaven today.  She gave the best kisses.  Better than any other human on the planet.  Hope Ty is there to sing "Happy Berfday" to you.  But be careful, because he might use exploding candles on your cake just for a laugh :)

19 comments:

  1. Love, love the picture of Ty in those shoes. He is such a little love! I watched the video of him scooting on the floor and cried and smiled. I just love his little voice. I wish so much he was here with you. Thanks as always for sharing your life with us. I hope you never stop. I look forward to your posts and seeing how you are doing.
    -Jennifer

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  2. that little boy was made up of pure laughter stitched together with giggles on a string"

    What a wonderful and happy way to describe your beautiful child! You're a great mom,Cindy. You make Ty very proud!

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    1. I love this description of Ty too! Thinking of you, Lou, Gavin and Ty for always.
      Much love & hugs,
      Judy

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  3. what a great story Cindy - thank you for always being so generous in sharing these wonderful stories of Ty. I wish, like so many others, that I had gotten to know him in person. He is one special boy and he'll always be in my heart. Every night we say a prayer to Ty and now Christopher has taken to saying our "Ty prayer" before every meal - it is so cute and sweet. He'll always be a part of our family. Sending love to all of the Campbell's. (I'm italian too - not a very good one - for goodness sakes I never know if I'm supposed to say mozzeralla or mozzarell....manicotti or manigut....ay yi yi...maybe you can share your MIL's gravy recipe with me:)

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    1. Of course! But now that I'm a veteran Italian, I might leave out a couple of key ingredients when I give you the recipe :)

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    2. Very funny! As an Italian, you always have to keep something out. You dont want it to taste as good as your own and you always want them to come back for more!! Mangia!!!

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  4. Cindy,
    Thank you so much for sharing. Not a day goes by without thinking of Ty. He is, and always will be my Birthday buddy. I do look for your posts daily, and I love the pics.
    I miss him.

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  5. Thank you for sharing such great memories!

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  6. Love it...I knew Lou was eye-talian, as the old schoolers say.. thank you for continuing to share. I absolutely love hearing your stories. Missing Ty so much and always thinking of you all every day. Fly high my sweet boy.

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  7. Love the shoes on Ty! Such a sweet angel..

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  8. Cindy, loved your story :) and pictures! Your family is always on my mind! Angela from Carmel

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  9. I think of Ty and your family everyday. I always get a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat each time I think of him or tell someone about him. I do that ALOT!!!! I was cleaning the stove the other day, and something made me think of you and Ty. Alas, the tears flowed. You guys touch my heart in every way...
    Just wanted to let you know.
    Much love,
    Shawna
    Millbrook, NY

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  10. What a sweet story! When I see pictures of Ty, I always try to wish you into them... into those moments with him. Maybe it's silly, but from one mother to the next, I doubt there's anywhere else you'd rather be. Hugs from Ohio.

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  11. Another great story ! Now I HAVE to make noodles & meatballs with locatelli, of course. I am also from Sarajevo ( Now in Ann Arbor MI) and i KNEW mely (meliha maybe? :-)) was from there, I even don't know why, so weird. My younger son is Ty's age and my heart is aching too, what a lovely boy :-)

    Love & hugs and wish you lots of ladybugs,

    Alisa Serbedzija aliserbedzija@yahoo.com

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  12. "Pure laughter stitched together with giggles on a string" ......beautiful, wonderful, blessed.......God bless Ty

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  13. Its hard to comment because you describe him in the most beautiful way and I have no words. He was and is everything. I miss you deeply.

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  14. Sweet, sweet story. I can imagine you with him and him using his chubby fingers to pinch and crumble.

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  15. I remember Ty's noo-noos and I'm glad to say that I got to prepare them for him too :) Ohs with butter and Locatelli - YO!

    Ty was so sweet. I love that he welcomed me in when I spent a week with you guys. I cherish those memories so much. I didn't realize it until looking back now how important that trip was for me. I truly came to know and love Ty and I'm so grateful and lucky-feeling right now.

    He was sweet-as-a-button, smart, kind, and yes - strung up with giggles (or however you so nicely put it). He will always be with us special occasions because he is in our hearts and our memories.

    Colleen R.

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  16. What a refreshing story to read first thing in the morning! Bless you Cindy your heart is filled with so much love! Love your description of Ty, soooo fitting just like his bigs shoes :-) xx

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