Day 231: Mambo! Miam! Miam!

Last night was the ultimate experience for Aurelien where I shared with him an important part of my New York life as well as offer an explanation on why I have potty mouth and still find fart jokes funny - he met my Italian cousins. 

Being the only girl in a crew of five boys in a close family, I value their opinions which are usually spot-on and direct. I've been feeling cheesy that it seems like every year I bring around a new French guy, so I didn't know how they were going to take to my latest 'situation'. They all made it clear that they hated Lucien, the pompous pseudo-intellectual. Somewhere between his remark that my family would be considered low-class in France because we eat dinner at 7 pm and him looking at my grandmother like she was an unrefined plebeian because she didn't have French mustard to go with his steak, he was out, never to be invited to another family function again and while they liked MF, they couldn't get to know him because he didn't speak English, so they never grew too attached to him.

But you know what? This is 2011, soon to be 2012, a new year, new man and why should Aurel suffer and miss out on the lunacy that is my family because of previous failures? My cousin Angelo and his new wife Josephine organized a beautiful dinner in their new home where it was the first time we've all been together since everyone's weddings. Aurel and I met up with Vinny and his new wife Carmella, Anthony and his girlfriend Lily and little Marco at the LIRR station where we all went into the city together for a post-holiday dinner. 

We arrived at Penn Station and because Phish is playing at Madison Square Garden this week, the place was packed with neo-hippies wandering around before the show looking for tickets. I couldn't resist telling Aurel that Penn Station, aside from the commuters, has a huge subculture of hippies acting as if it was completely normal that a white guy with dreads was approaching him with his finger in the air. Angelo who doesn't understand French but knows when I'm pulling someone's leg (apparently in any language) jumped in and explained to poor Aurel that Phish was playing upstairs and that the people who were holding up their fingers were in fact, looking for tickets. This only prompted his next question; "Who is Phish?"

We arrived at Angelo and Josephine's new home in Chelsea which incidentally is on the same street where I grew up and in typical family tradition, we all stood in the kitchen, picking at the welcoming spread of prosciutto, Italian cheeses, sopressata, clams and oysters on the half shell and roasted red peppers.

One of my favorite things about catching up with the newlyweds of 2011 is seeing them after the hoopla of their weddings as they settle into married life. I find comfort in other people's happiness which always reminds me that everything works out the way it's supposed to.

After an incredible dinner of chicken scarpariello, sauteed broccoli di rabe and roasted blue potatoes, we exchanged Secret Santa gifts. Aurel who was thrown into the drawing at the last minute received his gift from our youngest cousin Marco. Marco didn't know what to get someone whom he's never met, so logic told him to give him a framed and signed photo....of himself. "It's perfect for Paris!" was his only reasoning - well I guess France is now complete.

We ate, we danced around the kitchen and the night was capped off with a limoncello infused serenade of the New York anthem, "The Piano Man" where Aurel had the same exact look on his face that I have when Claude François' "Alexandrie, Alexandra" comes on at a party; delight over the cultural experience. The night couldn't have been better and am pleased to share with him another facet that makes me, me.


  1. did he meet the other cousin? The cousin you don't want to talk about: Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino!
    tu m'as fait rigoler comme d'hab, j'attends le prochain "post".

    PS: Phish? meh

  2. @Gabe - LOL!! "The Situation" ! Those guys are out of their minds...I forget that the Jersey Shore made it over to France (quelle horreur!). Et suis contente de t'amuser!

    and LOL! Phish is fun!! :P

  3. Phish?

    So your cousin has gotten over your not being at his wedding? Good!:)

    You cousin Marco gave Seb a framed photo of himself? Oh dear... well, Seb can always chuck out the pic and put one of yours in it instead;)

    Considering his family, I'm sure Seb felt right at home with your NY Italians:)

  4. @Duchess - Yeah, Phish plays MSG every holiday, what's funny is that the crowd is getting older and older every year.

    Vinny is fine about the wedding, there was more to the story that I found out where he wasn't actually as mad as I thought he was. He wasn't mad at all which was a relief.

    And OMG, the photo of Marco! I wish I could put it up but that wouldn't be fair to him, but it's pretty funny, he's totally "blue steeling" it up! He's 18 and is that wise guy phase. We're going to keep the photo as is, it's too ridiculous.

  5. I'm glad that Gabe mentioned Mike "The Situation" because he's what popped into my mind when you mentioned your "latest situation".

    It's great that Seb gets to see you in your environment. As much as I love living in Europe, I also like it when my husband gets a dose of American culture to balance things out. I can easily imagine the look on Seb's face when your family sang "Piano Man". What a memorable experience!

  6. The names are a hoot- so many Italians! My family is so mixed; the most Italian being my mom's name (Roberta!).

    You guys eat a lot of Italian food! I don't think I've ever experienced a real all Italian-Am. family in NY. Sounds very traditional. Food sounds amazing as per usual! And, you grew up in Chelsea? Wow -and how nice that you have fam living in the 'hood; I know how pricey it is. Their lucky they have both Trader Joe's AND Whole Foods in the neighborhood now. :)

    Glad to hear that Vinny is cool w/ everything after all.

    What a great experience for you and Séb.

    Phish... yeah I'm not up-to-date on a lot of pop culture.. music being one of them! ..? And all the times I've spent commuting under MSG...

  7. I'm so sorry that I'm jumping on these comments way after the fact. I'm a bit tied up over here (I'm being a rude blogger...sorry!).

    @MK - Are you hinting that you watch The Jersey Shore!?! LOL! You're way hipper than my mom...she would certainly have NOT made that connection!

    And yes, I agree with "evening things" out re: culture. While I love absorbing French culture, sharing mine has been such a pleasure and the bonus is how much he appreciates it!

    @D - You're from L.I and haven't experienced an Italian-American get together? They are certainly an say the least.

    Yes, I grew up in the city and my family moved us out to L.I for high school so I'm a half-long island girl. When I grew up there, our rent was....wait for it, wait for it...615.00 per month for a 2 bedroom/2 bath in Chelsea. Crazy, huh?