When the host and hostess of Sauce Sunday, Chris and Joe, were first married they lived in New Haven, Conetticut, where they both grew up. This is where Sauce Sunday originated some 25 years ago, but at some point they
You might remember my daughter Maggie.
This is my youngest son, Dylan. He's usually away at school or down the beach with skim board, boogie board, surf board, flippers, basketball or frisbee. He checks in by phone or runs in to take a quick shower and grab a pepper jack turkey sandwich, (his favorite), every now and again. It's hard to keep cereal, waffles or milk in the house when he's home but, according to him, I serve most of my meals when the surf is best so he's no where to be found. I know it couldn't have anything to do with my cooking.
Dylan is my: always in a good mood, quick to forgive, full of quippy humor, boy. I guess I can't call him my boy anymore, at eighteen he's a young man now, seemingly finished with his surly teen years and extremely enjoyable to have around. But, most often you can find him over here where Sauce Sundays occur, with his adopted family, the Crocamo's. Nobody is sweeter to our son than the Crocamos are. Every time we see them they say, "we just love Dylan." Ya gotta love it when somebody favors you with a compliment about your kid like that. We sure do! Anyhow, Dylan's a handsome devil, don't ya think?
Well, there you have it. It's through our two youngest kids that we met the Crocamos and have had the honor to share in Sauce Sundays. So as you don't get too mixed up inside this l o n g post of mine, I would now like to introduce you to our Sauce Sunday hostess, Christine Antonelli, (the beautiful blonde serving cupcakes which you see here). Her grandfather, Silvio Antonelli had an Italian restaurant on Wooster Street in New Haven, Conneticut. So you could say that good cooking and entertaining are in her blood. You could, and you should, because as you're about to see, it's very true.
After we moved here to the beach and wasting no time, my kids made haste to find friends in their new hood, and soon found that all the "cool" people with kids their age lived on the streets around ours. On our particular street, most of the families have already raised their kids or just come for the summer season. It's a bit too
boring tame for a couple of teenagers looking for excitement someone to play a video game with. Just over the next street though, you never fail to see a passel of kids on skate boards, or in their wetsuits carrying their surfboards down the beach to catch a wave. There are pogo sticks bouncing, balls flying, and lawn wrestling going on at any given time.
As an aside, Important note: As I've taught my kids to drive, the most crucial lesson I teach them is this: When you are driving down a street and you see a ball roll into your path, S T O P. Because, when there is a ball rolling into the street, there is sure to be a kid or a dog right behind it. That's the most important rule of driving, so don't forget it because that's the way it is. And it is most definitely true on the street where they have Sauce Sunday. Lecture complete.
Amen and you're welcome.
When we first moved to our new neighborhood six years ago now, within a couple of days
I kinda think that Chris got a wee bit of her wish regarding her desire to live in France. On Sauce Sunday one kind of feels like they live in the South of France. Lots and lots of Sunflowers bedazzle the tables. Some come from the garden next door. Others are scored with the help of a sweet teenage neighbor girl, Stella, who goes to our local Sunday Farmer's Market and uses her buyer's finesse to get a good deal. Keep your eye on her, I think she has a promising future in sales and marketing.
Around here there is not a neighborhood that isn't a joy to walk in. For a dog lover who finds nothing more enjoyable than to hook the pups to their leashes and wander around discovering new flowers popping up in someones yard or a beautiful mosaic of art being installed, the scenery is as I often remark, idylic. You may remember when I wrote a post titled, "Can We Keep Her" You may want to check out that post because it's a good example of the serendiptous kinds of things you might find when you wander around our streets. The conversation between my son Dylan and I was pretty memorable too. Oh, and for anyone interested, that particular home, sculpture included is for sale right now.
As I was saying, there is nothing more fun than to gather up the pups and take a walk-about. You know how in the old television sitcom "Cheers", the theme song reads, "where everybody knows your name?" Well, 'round here everyone knows you by your dog's name. Someone might say something such as, "hey, aren't you Bailey and Kieran's mom?" Or, your dogs are so cute, and it's so funny that you named them after booze"! ? ! :) What?
So first and foremost, I recognized lots of dogs I knew. This put my agorophobic issues to rest, making me feel so much more comfortable. It gave me the doggy loving security to venture on and soon I stumbled upon this welcome sight.
Then I saw this sight right out of some al fresco scene from Tuscany!
Chris was actually searching for a piano in the paper and ended up finding a guy who sold her these forks for an awesome price.
True Serendipity, yes?
Not only that, she uses her good China dishes, and sets everything out on tables covered with white cloths. I love to set a beautiful table as much as anyone, and I don't save my good china for special occasions only, however, we're talking about 80 to 100 neighbors, lots of them under the age of 12, eating dinner on a sidewalk spanning the entire block! Ohhhh shiver me control freak tendencies.
This is is how you bring the inside - out.
Folks bring coolers full of water bottles, soda, and vino. Chris has a sweet sister Diane, who has three boys, and they live just across the street. Her brother John, his wife and their two little ones live just over by the train station. I'm talkin' a Grande Familia Italiano. She has two brothers and four sisters and most of them live practically next door! They just fill their kitchen with family and friends and c o o k their hearts out. But it's Chris that is the power house behind all the shenanigans. She desiginates where kids should go and what they should do (be they hers) or any strays (like mine) hanging around. She blasts around her kitchen at rocket pace whipping up tasty treats and an Italian feast that Ceasar Augutus himself would be proud of. There are no rules. Anyone can help, they never seem to run out of ingredients or food, and there are always people helping to set things up and take things down, although there's a rumor that her husband Joe does all the dishes. (God bless a man who does dishes.)
Have I made it clear that nothing's black and white? There are no cheat sheets posted, no rules set in stone. Blast my best efforts not to cave in to my ocd! Although you didn't ask, you really ought to know, there's a difference between being a perfectionist and
Neighbors are happy to contribute to the feast, bringing Ceasar salad with garlic croutons; plates of fresh Caprese Salad which are artistic wonders unto themselves and could rival any of Italy's top chefs, and chairs and furniture so there are plenty of places to sit yourself down for a spell. But Chris and Joe supply the Sauce and the Meatballs, the bulk of the appetizers, and the desert! To say nothing of those beautiful silver forks and place settings which make you feel like you are eating at the nicest Italian restaurant in town.
Somehow not only does everyone ingest so much delicious food you can hear gratified moaning for hours afterward, everyone gets a seat with a china plate and a silver fork!
On the last Sauce Sunday I helped make Calzones. When I showed up I asked Chris what I could do to help and she casually pointed in the direction of several bowls of grilled veggies and sauce and said, "you can finish those." Luckily she'd already made several which I used as my guide to figure out how much stuffing was needed and how to roll those suckers. I had plenty of dough, as Joe made 8 lbs of it just for this party! In the past I've been a: read the recipe and hope it has step by step pictures, kind of gal. Chris sorta just
And now, here it is in all its GLORY -
Voila! The Sauce.
COME AND GET IT! Don't ya wish you were here?
Sauce Sunday isn't always about raising money for a good cause although, this particular Sunday saw excellent results in a draw to make dreams come true for special atheletes. A couple of days later this sign was still up and the donations in red had risen all the way up to the very tip top! As all the best chef's say, BAM! And that's how it's done.