A Whiskey Soaked Night

By Mary Anna Violi |@MaryAnnaVioli

   Last night I had a curious dream. My somnambulistic state was rendered further novel by the fact that I rarely dream. 

   I dreamt about drinking Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. 

My opaque state of sleep seemed also to grapple with the fact that I’m not much of a drinker. The odd glass of wine with dinner, the social drink of liquor [I do fancy the orange notes of Grand Marnier], and perhaps a mixed drink with family and friends, is about all I indulge in with spirits.

   Yet last night in my dream-state, I shared a flight of whiskey with my friend who actually introduced me to my first taste Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey. We were then asked by the bartender to rate the various whiskeys of the flight. I rated the citrus whiskey the highest on my card. In my waking life, I have never imbibed a citrus whiskey, cucumber vodka [I like a good French 75] and orange vodka, yes, but not citrus whiskey.

   How strange this morning that I woke up not only remembering that dream, but also wondering if a citrus whiskey really existed! The weather saw fit to be teeth-chattering cold again today, which meant I was less than inclined to travel to a local liquor store and determine if I could purchase a small bottle of citrus whiskey. Again, this in itself would have been a rare occurrence for me. Neither a barfly nor a frequenter of liquor stores am I. 

  Maybe I should do a Google search…be right back…Okay. The Internet is full of citrus whiskey and recipes on how to make them, too.

   I hadn’t classified Grand Marnier and Cointreau in the citrus whiskey category because they are refined liquors, or so I thought. I believe I will hang on to my euphoric notion of Grand Marnier and Cointreau. In fact, I’ll have a shot of Grand Marnier this evening after my humble Ash Wednesday dinner.

   Ciao for now.

Ash Wednesday Denial

By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi

Stained glass angel church window - tangledpasta.net
Stained glass angel church window – tangledpasta.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ash Wednesday is the kick-off to the Lenten season in the Roman Catholic Church.  This year Ash Wednesday fell on February 13.  On Mardi Gras, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, I tried to muster up enthusiasm for a New York strip steak, or at least a cheeseburger, preferably from Five Guys.  However, on Mardi Gras, meat did little to entice my taste buds.  Ergo, I feasted instead on roasted garbanzo beans, couscous, and broccoli.

At the 12:05 p.m. Mass on Ash Wednesday, I was the Reader for the two Epistles [one from the Prophet Joel; the other from Book 2 of the Corinthians, for those reading this blog with an inquiring mind].  As I finished reading from the Corinthians, suddenly, a Five Guys juicy cheeseburger with sautéed onions and mushrooms blazed across my mind.  I tried to focus on Monsignor’s sermon about Lent not being necessarily about forsaking candy for 40 days, but about doing good deeds, a’ la` random acts of kindness.

While the advice was sound, I envisioned that charbroiled cheeseburger burning brightly before me on the marble altar railing.  “Sacriligious!”  I silently chastised myself to no avail.  “Focus! Focus!” I mutely yelled to myself.

Fasting in-between meals on Ash Wednesday and on the Fridays during Lent has not been historically troublesome for me.  In fact, fasting, instead of indulging in my daily grazing in-between meals, should decrease my waistline [which it usually does not].

My Lenten albatross remains abstinence from meat throughout the remaining Fridays of Lent.  It is ironic because I rarely think about or crave meat; salmon and bay scallops, yes, pasta with seafood, yes, but meat in and of itself, no.  I fear each Lenten Friday I will fixate on either a cheeseburger or a strip steak, which I do not crave on any other day during Lent, except for Ash Wednesday.

Sigh.  It is going to be a long 40 day-road to Easter Sunday.

Ciao for now.

Che sara`, sara`

Dining al fresco - tangledpasta.net
Dining al fresco – tangledpasta.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I was a young sprig, my parents were the harbingers our Italian community’s news.  They knew who was ailing, in the hospital, had died, was visiting from of town or country, or was traveling, to name areas that incited Italian interest.  My father, who owned his own shoe business, kept me abreast of these and other Italian news breaking events.   My mother, whose community service and Catholic Church work brought her in touch almost daily with cutting edge events, also kept me informed.   From my earliest years, whether or not I believed myself to have a vested interest in the day-to-day hot-off-the-press-informal-Italian-Gazette news flashes, I as made aware.

And then a funny thing happened:  As I matured, the elders in my family began to die off, like great Roman gods.  With my own mother’s death and my father’s increasing dementia, I became the point person for hot-off-the-wire family updates.  There was a problem with this role suddenly thrust upon me:  Not only was I working full-time, I was divorced and raising my daughter without any help, financial or otherwise, from my ex-husband, in addition to overseeing my father’s care.  On most days I functioned on autopilot.  The immediate needs of my child and my father were in the forefront, as they should have been. Well-intentioned family phoned me constantly in the evenings after I returned from work, and on the weekends.  Finally, I had Caller ID installed to screen calls as a survival mechanism.

As the months and years rolled by, it became more challenging to know what was going on among Italian families, beyond my own, for my friends were also experiencing the deaths of their Italian shamans.  My full-time working friends became increasingly engaged in elder care while attempting to juggle complex lives.  We all coped, not always in exemplary fashion, but always honoring our parents, keeping them at the forefront of our efforts as we also attended to our children.

A dear cousin of my father’s died last Saturday.  His funeral was held on Ash Wednesday, an odd day for a funeral among Roman Catholics.  I did not even know of his death until late Wednesday afternoon.  I grieved alone, for not one of my local relatives called to notify me prior to our cousin’s funeral.  What I used to jokingly refer to as “The Italian Twilight Bark” has perished.  Yet I prefer to contemplate our late cousin dining sumptuously above with my parents on a hearty repast of Italian food.

Ciao for now.

By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi