Woman of the Year.

Welcome back readers!! Happy Wednesday, Happy 2019, and Happy Everything!! I’m proud to say the first draft of the “Who Stole My Cannoli” book is almost finished, which means I can devote more time to the blog! I’ve been away from this space for a while and I could share a sad story of how I’m making a New Year’s resolution to focus on this blog but I won’t. In fact, simply put, I’m getting off my fat ass to do what I love and see where it takes me. As many of you know, my life is filled with crazy stories that have shaped me into the food loving, pleasantly plump, family man I am today. So if you will, take a minute to dive back into the “Who Stole My Cannoli” blog and give yourself a break from the world you live in.

During a recent daydreaming session, I was reaching back in the folds of my brain and reflecting back to a time when my biggest worry was how much sweat I was producing in the Florida sun. You know, like every other kid. No? Just me? Anyway, the first thought that came into my head was of my Nana, who happens to be one of the most important people in my life, especially during my childhood. Below is a picture of her on her wedding day, which is one of my favorite photos of her. Here is a woman who was a pioneer of her time, demanding that she wasn’t someones property and would live her life and raise her children the way she wanted. Coming from, and marrying into, a traditional Italian home, her way of thinking caused some waves but to be honest… it was her thing.  And still is! Nonetheless, to better give you an idea of what a typical day with Nana was, we must start with a rotisserie chicken.

Why this story came to mind tends to be a little hazy, maybe it was the cream puff I had just ate or the soft ticking of time that made me wonder back in the past. Honestly, whatever the reason, my brain was racing to get this down and share this gem of a story. 

Food is at the epicenter of our family and what would any day be without it. However, true to form, my family takes it one step further. To set the stage, picture a slew of Italians in the local grocery store taking up the aisles, speaking in tongues, and practically hand-assaulting passerby’s as we talk to each other in the loudest voices possible. Scary huh? Well just wait, there’s more! My mom, Nana, and I end up by the deli where they had a giant rotisserie oven roasting about 14 chickens, which is very pertinent to the story, so remember that number. Nana’s turn at the deli counter comes up and she says to the clerk “I would like a pound of salami, a pound of provolone, and all of your rotisserie chickens.” “All of the chickens?” the deli clerk responds. Nana snaps back, “Yes, ALL of them.” At this point the clerks eyes were wider than the state of Texas as she claps back, “Well I’m sorry but you can’t have them all.” That’s when the hole to hell opened up and I made the sign of the cross because that woman’s soul was about to be in peril. Without hesitation Nana exclaimed, “Excuse me!? I will ask you again… I would like all of your chickens and I would like them now, please.” To my Nana “asking” was really more of a polite demand and I mean, she did say please. Then, as if out of thin air, we heard a beeping coming from behind us as if a small truck were backing up. As I spun around an elderly man, about 200 hundred years old, came slowly creeping in his scooter and stopped right next to my Nana. In between oxygen tank-laden gasps, and big sad eyes, he says, “Ma’am, do you think I could have a chicken to take home?” And as if time stood still for a second, we all held our breaths, while Nana looked down and sternly, but somehow politely, said, “I’m very sorry but you’ll have to get your own.” With that, my mom ran over and started scolding my Nana telling her that she didn’t need all that food and asking who she was planning to feed with all the chickens. Nana simply responded that she “Needed to have backup food in the freezer for when family or unexpected guests visit and if there’s an emergency.” A pile of rotisserie chickens are essential in a pinch. Sounds legit, right?  Eventually my mom convinced Nana to part with a chicken but to add insult to injury, as we walked away with 13 rotisserie chickens, Nana looks at the frail man and says, “You’re welcome sir!” Nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes when I see a rotisserie chicken, I can hear the soft sounds of pumping oxygen and the faint beeping of a grocery store scooter.

As it was in most of my childhood, the community may not have known my Nana but they sure never forgot her after the first encounter! So I say, who else better to be named Woman of the Year but the one who sacrificed a single rotisserie chicken to answer the plea of a scooter-bound gentleman. Don’t get me wrong, my Nana is one of the best souls on this earth and would move mountains for her loved ones. Although if you ever plan to dip into her food reserves, you might want to think that one through.

Stay tuned for another installment of “Who Stole My Cannoli?” and please follow and share this blog if you found it as amusing as I find my life!

Journey to the Center of Fat.

First things first! Let me start by stating my sincerest of apologies for my absence for the month of February. We had an eventful month that took much of my free time. Just picture me running (okay walking fast) down my street barefoot, with fat jiggling, yelling for help and breathing like a potbelly pig. As this was going on, my basement was flooding by the gallons and my love for winter slowly dissipated. Unfortunately, this story will have to wait till next week but now you know the main reason for my lack of posts. For now, let’s talk about fat. Well actually, let’s talk about the fact that one day the button from my pants might pop and knock an innocent bystander unconscious. I can just imagine myself taking a gigantic bite of baked ziti and just as I start to chew, a huge “pop” sends my button into mid air rotating furiously and taking out its target. Sadly, I don’t even think that would get me to put down the fork and head to the nearest gym. I don’t know if its my intense love for food that makes me eat like a famished hyena or the fact that I grew up in a home where every single event centered around eating. If you were sad, eat! If you were happy, eat! If someone died, eat! That was the mantra my family lived by and if you were a guest, you left gaining at least half your body weight in food. In all honesty, I think it’s our culture that plays such a big part in how we live our lives. I don’t mean to suggest that the growth of my “man-boobs” were caused by my “culture” making me eat those many, many pounds of pasta but the way I ate was a way of life and it took a while to notice the effects. So, in an effort to stop my ravenous ways I decided to loose weight in hopes of never having to purchase a man-bra, or as Kramer would say, a “Bro”.

It all began some time before my wedding. I had become determined to loose weight so I wasn’t mistaken for a beached whale in our wedding photos. Things started out good, I was following a low-carb regimen but eventually the little fat devil on my shoulder tried to sway me. I remember one evening, while grocery shopping, I passed a box of Ho Ho’s and immediately stopped. I think I sat there longing for the taste of moist chocolate cake filled with the sweet icing of the gods. The fat kid in me won and I dropped that box of goodness into my cart. However, my devious actions didn’t stop there. When I arrived home I quickly ran in the house and hid my special box of treats. I took a sigh of relief and relished in the fact that no one was going to find out my dirty, but delicious, secret. For days I would find myself hiding in rooms or waiting till my wife was at work to blissfully unwrap my reward! The task of successfully opening the pesky, noisy, wrapper became a sort of game. If it were an Olympic sport I would have been a gold metal recipient. But was it a reward? I hadn’t exercised or lost weight, so why did I feel the need to give myself a treat. I quickly made those blasphemous thoughts disappear with a nice glass of cold milk and another Ho Ho. As time went on I started hiding bigger meals. Big Mac’s, Chinese take-out, Philly-steak subs, and pounds of pasta. I was on a roll and truthfully started looking like one. I would tell my wife I was eating healthy salads for lunch but really I was engulfing a large soda, fries, and at worst 3 double cheeseburgers. I was a runaway meatball! You know, the kind that falls off your plate and it keeps rolling, damaging everything in its path with sauce. Food was my “precious” and pity any man, woman, or hobbit that tried to stop me. Some nights I would even lay awake dreaming of what my next meal was going to be but with so many options how could I choose! Was there enough time for me to eat it all?? Yea, that was me and it only took a moment of splitting my pants to realize it was time to silence my inner fatty. In an instant I watched my stomach grow to house an eighty pound food baby. It was then I realized it wasn’t about treating myself but the idea that I should because I could. Although it tasted good during the process, I was only hurting myself and it was time for a change.

I’m now on this journey to the center of healthy but it doesn’t come without its share of bumps, in the form of cheeseburgers, and ever so often I can hear my inner fatty chanting those dark words, “Ho, Ho’s.”

Hop on the Crazy Train!

Ciao, Hello, Hola, Bonjour, and Hallo! Hopefully I covered the biggies but I think you get the idea. Welcome aboard the crazy train or as I like to call it, the “Who Stole My Cannoli?” web page! Since you took the time to stop by I thought I would explain what your getting yourself into. Think of me as the conductor and your the passenger joining me on my journey through this crazy thing called life. I can guarantee it will be nothing of what you expect and there will be plenty of “bumps” along the way. From a boy growing up in an unconventional Italian home to the daily struggles of a simple man and his food, you will be entertained by the people I call family.  So grab a ticket, and a bowl of pasta, and take a ride with me on the one and only crazy train!