Posted by Shannon on 02/01/2011
Singular form of the Italian verb “mangiare,” to eat. An encouragement to enjoy your meal or start eating. In Palos Verdes, I hear it emphatically around Francine’s dinner table. She’s Sicilian, bakes a mean eggplant parmigiana, and she single-handedly raised un-myeong (my sunshine.)
I first took my seat around the dinner table in late-Fall 2010.Since then we’ve spent nearly every Sunday at the house. See, in my head, those nights are unquestionably blocked out. Is it Sunday? Is it 6pm? I am busy. Check my iPhone calendar. Recurring event: Family dinner. Repeat: Weekly. End date : n/a. Monitoring email ceases, and my email is silence & stashed in my purse. All photos below were cooked there, without recipes, and were delicious.
My priorities are solely on Francine, Wynn, Steve, Gail, Stef, and Charlo. I look forward to it all week. I’ve rediscovered the comforting, familiar sense of family I last had in June 2009 before I relocated from Seattle.
We share loud, happy conversations all evening w/ plenty of stories and an unabashed sprinkling of profanities. When it’s time, Francine calls us and we take the seats that have over time become “ours.” Preceding the call to the table, we drift back and forth from the kitchen to the living room couches where a large antipasto platter and cold beers are always within reach.
Once seated….more talking, more laughing, all the while passing each other large family-style platters piled high with culinary successes. We pause patiently while everyone gets a bit of everything they need, but soon enough we’ll hear “Mangia, mangia!” And when momma says mangia, you eat.
We clean up afterward as a team, carrying dishes and glasses back into the kitchen. More conversations, sometimes a quick trip outside to the deck to look at the skyline and city lights. On particularly clear evenings, we can see all the way to downtown Los Angeles. Eventually, we’ll reassemble at the table for coffee, fruit and dessert. The night eventually flows into hugs goodbye and a few Tupperware to-go care packages.
Mangia mangia means get eating…good food with good people…family. In the near future, I foresee an epic Sunday meal with my family and my Cali family all gathered together. One day further out, I hope I’ll look around my dinner table with a similar (well-fed) family of my own, talking in a similarly loud and happy manner.