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“A bottle of red, a bottle of white,
Whatever kind of mood you’re in tonight,
I’ll meet you anytime you want,
In our Italian Restaurant….”


Billy Joel
Scenes From An Italian Restaurant

The Godfather

It’s gotta be one of the greatest movies of all time. The reason isn’t because of the family or even the story. The reason is simply because of the food.

Let me explain.

There were two things the Corleone family knew how to do really well. One was to whack people and the other was to eat. There was just something sublime about the meals they sat down in front of,…which was sometimes followed by someone getting a bullet through his forehead.

Be that as it may, there is a subtle nuance between the characters and the food portrayed in that cinematic masterpiece. It’s almost as if there’s sub-liminal messaging going on throughout. Kinda like the old commercials where they would stick the McDonald’s arches into a frame for an igna-second.

(I think the Department of Homeland Security might have clamped down on that, though….you know,…so as to get their own messages in there or somethin’….)

I don’t know about anyone else, but I always get famished while watching that movie. It seemed that they were eating throughout the whole two and a half hours. Plus, the stuff they ate was second to none.

Spaghetti never looked so good than when it was being passed across the table by Abe Vigoda. Abe just had that way of making spaghetti look real good, didn’t he?

It’s just noodles and sauce, but you add that standard motel water glass of wine with it, it takes on a whole new dimension, doesn’t it? A whole new culinary world opens up at that point.

(A small, motel water glass seemed to be the main vehicle for wine in that flick. Don’t ask me why. I would think that a proper wine glass would be the way to go,…but, then, I’m not Italian either. Maybe that’s the way they drink it in Italy or something. I should really investigate that….)

I’m not a big fan of Cannoli. I just get that sweet-tooth immediately when Clemenza says, “Leave the gun, take the Cannoli”. I’m not so sure the appeal of it is because Paulie’s brains were all over the windshield at that point. I think it could be because of that great overcoat that Clemenza was wearing. Something changes when a nice fedora and an overcoat are introduced with Cannoli. It was probably cashmere. Cashmere and that little box tied with string just really went well together.

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It’s vexing, to say the least.

And then there’s the veal. Michael is about to whack Sollazzo and McCluskey when McCluskey turns to him and says,

“Try the veal. It’s the best in the city.”

I always really, really feel like a piece of veal at that point.

I think that might be because of the sterile white tablecloth that adorns the table. That plus the bottle of wine that the waiter takes way too long to open. That might be why I get instantly hungry for veal. Or maybe it was the absolute desolation in that restaurant or something. I don’t know.

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I don’t normally have a hankerin’ for veal when I watch “Goodfellas”. I don’t normally have a hankerin’ for veal at any other time in my life,….except when I watch that scene.

And it always happens, man. Always.

Hell, even the Chinese take-out and beer they were dining on in the previous scene looked pretty good. I mean, Chinese take-out and beer should only be consumed in a wife-beater with suspenders,…as was so aptly demonstrated by James Caan. If I could get away with it in the year 2014, I would most assuredly go to any dinner table dressed like that.

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You just can’t do that in these times. Times have changed. Someone would have a serious objection about that. But there’s just something strangely appealing about eating Chinese while wearin’ a wife-beater and suspenders.

(Btw,…it’s not politically correct to use the term, “wife-beater”, when referencing a white tank-top undershirt, is it? I don’t know….maybe I over-stepped my bounds on that one…apologies if I did.)

I dunno.

I guess the clincher scene in when Clemenza is making that pot of kick-ass sauce. That scene kills me every single time….

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“You start out with a little bit of oil. Then you fry some garlic. Then you throw in some tomatoes, tomato paste, you fry it; you make sure it doesn’t stick. You get it to a boil; you shove in all your sausage and your meatballs. And a little bit of wine, and a little bit of sugar—that’s my trick.”

I don’t follow his recipe at all. I’m sure that’s sound advice but, not being Italian, I’m a little leery about putting that much sugar and raw meat into a pot of spaghetti sauce. I did know a guy once who was Italian. He put raw meat into his sauce,…and I ate it and it was very good. I just think that somethin’ would go horribly wrong considering that I am mostly Irish. I don’t think an Irish guy like me could really pull off the whole raw meat in a pot of tomato sauce and have someone not get really, really sick.

Therefore, I will cook the meatballs and sausage prior to shoving it in,….and I will negate the tomato paste due to the fact that my base is called, “Prego”.

Other than that, we pretty much have the same sauce.

Yeah. This is what happened the last time I watched the Godfather:

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I got the veal. It was the best in the city.

Anyway,…

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