As I watched the recorded episode of Marissa Tomei on WDYTYA last night, I realized that if they did a show featuring me, the story would play out far differently. Even if I had the same story.
It would open with me looking not beautiful like Ms. Tomei. Sure, I’d have new clothes, but my brand-spankin’ new flowey sundress with matching umbrella would be in a size smaller than the size I actually wear (the dress, not the umbrella…). My logic is always that by the time any far-off big event occurs, I’m magically going to be one size smaller. But I never am.
My too-tight clothes and I would be nervous, too. So we’d be awkward, fat, cramped and that damn umbrella would blow inside out and my flowey dress would try to follow, luckily held down from underneath by my ripples of Rubinesque ridges.
We would open with me telling my family of the wonderful adventure the show was going to help us with. Their eyes would glaze. “Genealogy? Did you say you were going on a genealogy trip? For how long?” They ask the length only so they can judge how much reprieve from my “fun stories” they will get. They will not ask any questions and will only say, “Have fun and don’t hurry back!” They are already dreading all my chit chat upon return…
Since for this imagination, I have Ms. Tomei’s family, I would tell the show that my main focus is on my murdered great grandfather. They would take me to his home town in Italy and to the archives. While there, I’d get sidetracked by the giant books and need to read all of them before we leave. And since I don’t speak Italian and when I say, “Canovaros” it doesn’t roll in a melodramatic Italian accent and sounds more like a really bad way to say Cannibals. Or cannolis. Mmmm cannolis.
Now that I’m sidetracked by books and cannolis, I want to visit all the places there. I stay up all night on Google, Ancestry, and GenealogyBank while eating a truck-load of cannolis (because once you think of them, you have to have them). So the next morning my clothes are two sizes too small and I didn’t have time to wash my hair but who will notice?
I put the show behind by weeks by all my sidetracked adventures and I’m far too haggard to feature on film any longer. They black-shape me like on Court TV. When they finally tell me the results of the murdered grandfather, I no longer care, as I’m onto bigger and better things.
They fire me and I go home and excitedly tell the family the murder details because who doesn't love a good murder story? Just a moment before their eyes glaze, they say, “Yes, we know. We have all the newspaper clippings, photographs and actual video-recorded event right here where they've always been. Didn't you know?”
My Mother-in-Law's Cannoli Recipe
1 ¾ cups unsifted, regular all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons firm butter, cut in small pieces
¼ cut dry Sauterne (sweet white wine – Riesling should do)
1 egg white, slightly beaten
Shortening or salad oil for deep frying
Ricotta Filling (see below)
Chopped sweet chocolate and halved candied cherries
Sift flour with salt and granulated sugar. Make a well in the center and in it place egg and butter. Stir with a fork, working from center out, to moisten flour mixture. Add wine 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough begins, to cling together. Use your hands to form dough into 9 ball. Cover and let rise about 15 minutes.
Roll dough out on floured board about 1/16 inch thick. Cut to circles 3 o- inches. With rolling- pin, roll circles into ovals. Wrap around aluminum tubes; seal edge with egg white. Turn out ends of dough to flare slightly. Fry two or three at a time in deep hot fat (350 degrees) for about 1 minute -until lightly golden. Remove with tongs to paper towels to drain; let cool about 5 seconds; then slip out tube, holding shell carefully. Cool shells completely before filling. Use pastry tube to fill. Sift powdered sugar over shell; garnish at once with cherries.- Makes 25.
Whirl 2 pounds ricotta cheese in the blender or press through wire strainer until very smooth. Beat 1 ½ cups unsifted powder sugar and 4 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in ½ cup each finely chopped citron and orange peels and ¼ cup chopped sweet chocolate. Chill several hours or overnight.
Fluffy Ricotta Filling
Prepare ½ recipe Ricotta Filling and fold in one cup heavy cream beaten until stiff.
To either of the above filling recipes, add a few drops green food coloring to tint pale green. Use chopped blanched pistachios for garnish.