And, you’ be dead, too if you’d have had my day yesterday.

Allow me to digress…

For YEARS Peppe’s friend’s mother has invited us to lunch at her home. Literally – for years…Naive as I am, I persuaded Peppe to accept the next invitation.

“I feel guilty,” I told Peppe. “She keeps asking and asking…”

“We will die, Cherrye. Are you sure you want to try? Last time I was sick for days.”

Well, knowing Italians are drama-prone, I assumed this statement was a mere over-reaction. I assumed wrong.

It all began yesterday morning when Peppe and I drove to one of my favorite little villages around Catanzaro.


We’ve been many times; they have the most refreshing water and cool, crisp air. I simply *heart* Cortale.

Shortly after we arrived, Peppe’s friend took us for a drive to see their land.

His mom picked a bag of cherries for me and we stopped for a group pic.

She asked us to take her home so she could begin preparing lunch. Peppe, his friend, Marcello, and I continued to drive though the mountains. When we arrived back at Marcello’s house there was a table set and the antipasto was ready.

I’m not quite sure what this is called, but it was goooood. You spread a little on some freshly baked bread and eat it with provolone cheese.

Insalata di mare, or seafood salad, was also part of the antipasto, as was this pecorino cheese.

Marcello sliced the pecorino while Peppe and I were already getting full on the rest of the antipasto.

In addition (and not pictured) was fresh homemade sausage and homemade vino!

Then, came the first plate!

A baked pasta dish with penne pasta, homemade meatballs, ham, and sausage with a tomato sauce. Up until this point, I was ok. The antipasto dishes and the first plate were to-die-for. Unfortunately for me, so was everything else!

Homemade stuffed eggplant…

Then the, I assume, second plate..

“But, this is waaaay to much for me to eat, ma’am.”

So, she switches my plate…

That’ll teach me to open my mouth!

After I moved this around on my plate a little while, she came out with something else! Even Marcello was pushing her away!!

But this plate was the best. Unfortunately, I couldn’t REALLY taste it, since I was already on food-overload. But, I did manage to get some of it down.

Ahhh, finally…the fruit! It is like a beacon in the night saying – IT IS ALMOST OVER!

After the fruit we were offered gelato, which we were able to decline without too much insistence. She then prepared coffee, and gave us a splash of homemade limoncello. I didn’t have pictures of these, you see, because my camera’s internal memory was FULL!

But, just in case you haven’t been able to see what all this lady can do in the kitchen…

Homemade sausage, homemade limoncello, homemade olive oil, etc. etc. etc…Here are some pictures from her rose garden.

And one more – just for fun!

Buon Appetito!

16 Responses
  1. Giulia

    HOLY CR*P! Did you leave a busta before you left? That looks like a meal that would be served at a wedding! lol

    I can relate though, as I have been to many of these types of meals. The Italians, in general,like to make a bella figura when it comes to having guests over for food consumption!

    Once, my husband and I (when we were dating) went to a friend’s house for dinner and the food was never ending. His Mother cooked up a feast, pretty comparable to the one you just posted. As much as I was thankful to have been invited over, I was kinda sad because I knew the family wasn’t that well off, money wise. It was obvious to us that she put a big dent in her wallet and most likey went into some sort of debt to please us. When you know something like that, you’re kind of forced to eat everything until you’re green in the face, and they get the point! After that day, when ever we would get invited for a meal, I would kindly decline because I didn’t want to go through that again.

    But, yum, those photos are mouth watering. 🙂

  2. pat

    giulia…only a Jersey Girl would say “A Busta” Jersey in the house…or should I say Gersi int’a’casa!

  3. Giulia

    Very funny, Pat! 🙂
    For some reason though, “Gersi int’a’casa!” doesn’t roll off the tongue well. 😉

  4. Erin

    I guess going for a run after that (once the digestion clears you for take-off) is an absolute must! Yikes! That’s a lot of food. Looked absolutely to die for, though. Lucky you to die such a wonderful way : )

  5. j

    I’m not sure which is more wonderful the land, the roses or the food.

    So is this a thing of that generation or would younger Italians do the same? We have various friends for brunch often, but its usually just good cheese and bread and fruit salad and pastries and wine and coffee, nice but not a feast.

  6. G

    OK…way too much food for one meal…although, it all looked really good.

    So, how rude is it to just eat a few bites of each course? Or, do you have to be a cafone?

  7. Shelley - At Home in Rome

    Great post, I can’t even imagine what the signora must have been thinking with you snapping pics of all her dishes (queste americane pazze ;-)) This reminds me of the first meal I had in Italy at my friend Matteo’s house, his mom is Abruzzese and man, those people also know how to eat!!

  8. Anonymous

    looks like one of our typical sunday lunches at the suocera’s house. And saturday too if we are around…… far too much food, all good and hard to protest you’re full! Needless to say if we have lunch 2 days in a row there we do not eat anything else all weekend. Also need at least a 2hr snooze afterwards from the effort of all that eating!! Vanessa

  9. Nadine

    Oh my what a spread! That food looked so good, but I can’t believe that was all for just lunch. I mean I could eat that for a whole week!

  10. Cherrye

    G – I know what you mean! I asked Peppe if that is what I should expect at a wedding dinner! lol

    I also know what you mean about feeling like you HAVE to eat. Lucky for us in this case, she homemade A LOT of it…

    Pat – ha!

    Annika – If you really want a friend with her as a mom…you can have my friend. I am scared to go back! 🙂

    Erin – the food was GOOD, but I couldnt run…I was stuffed all day. In fact, Pep and I didnt eat until the next day at lunch!

    J – Your brunch sounds PERFECT. I am not sure if it is an older generation thing, or not. I don’t think so. We were invited to his cousins’ house for dinner one night (They are 30 and 34.)They made pasta for a first plate. Then they had side dishes like potatoes and a salad. Then they had some fried things like croquettes; they had something like bruschetta. Then, a fruit salad. Then pastries. It was easier to handle, because younger people don’t tend to PUSH you as much as the older generation does. Also, they bring it all to the table and you can take what you want. The older generation SERVES you a plate. So, everyone can tell if you ate or not.

    G – If you don’t eat the whole thing, they say, “You didn’t like it?” Usually by the end, I am too stuffed and miserable to be nice and I just tell them I can’t eat another bite!

    Shelley – She was too busy in the kitchen working on the next plate to notice the pics. Her son noticed, though and he didnt only THINK I was crazy…he said it!

    Vanessa – Exactly! We didnt eat the rest of the day. I cant imagine doing that TWICE in one weekend.

  11. Cherrye

    Katie – She WAS cooking all day! How dull… 🙂

    Nadine – The food was good. It would probably have tasted better, though spread out over a week! Things taste better when you are hungry!

    NYC – Actually, looking at them again makes me a little hungry, too!

  12. Stephanie

    Hahaha, boy does that bring back memories of my first visit to Sicily………I ate so much I was throwing up and they had to bring in the doctor to set me up with an I.V.!! Seriously! From the moment I set foot on Sicilian soil they were feeding me! Looks good though, what was in the stuff you put on the bread, it looks good!!

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