Two Guys Salad
The first time I met Lynn was on her 38th birthday.
"Before I introduce you to Lynn, I have to tell you something," Larry said.
"Lynn is very loud."
"Is she deaf? My family is loud... how loud is loud?" I asked.
"Lynn is loud-loud."
And off we went.Twenty-five Sicilians and one jovial Irish guy were all seated around a long kitchen table.They squeezed me in between Tony, Tommy and Eddy (the Irish guy) who married the lovely Mariella. I sat under the gold framed eight foot picture of the Italian patriarch. Everyone kissed me hello like I was an old friend. Once they understood that I did not eat pork, ham filled calzone, or chicken parm, the family welcomed me with artichokes, pastry, espresso and potato pie. Beautiful broken English came at me from all sides.
"Want some baccala?" Tommy Sr. asked.
"No thank you, I don't eat fish."
"No fish??? Whatddya mean no fish?" Tony said.
"Fish is not sausage." Tony and Tommy Sr. said in unison.
"No, no thank you."
"How 'bout anchovies? Whaddya mean, no anchovies?"
"Um no thank you. I think those are tiny fish," I said.
Someone yelled, " Get GiGi some more potato pie."
Nina, Tony's gracious wife jumped up to get me some. And then like a volcanic eruption, the second coming, or Jurassic Park dinosaur, I heard ...
"WHADDYA WANT TO DRINK? JUICE, SODA, WATER, BROWN OR BLACK COFFEE?"
TOMMY- ANDREW- STEVEN ( Tommy-Andrew-Stephen is all one word) GET LARRY'S GIRLFRIEND SELTZER AND BLACK COFFEE."
"THANK YOU!" I bellowed back and then I heard my soon to be sister-in law's hearty contagious laugh.
Larry and I left New York for way too long. Life has a weird way of stirring things up. Sometimes life takes away the things that make it possible to do the things you need to do. Until life happens again and finally you do what you gotta do and should have done all along.
Births, deaths, marriages, restaurants, graduations, and always food went on while we were gone. It was Lynn's tragic, unfortunate and premature passing that brought us back to that kitchen table last week.
Amidst all the sadness and loss, those crazy Sicilians still found a way to feed this crazy vegan. About 80 people feasted at Nunzio's Pizza Town after the funeral.
"Can I help?" I asked.
"No don't go into the kitchen, GiGi".
Tony went into his kitchen without me and brought me out a steaming voluptuous mixed vegetable dish.Yep, I was served before anybody.
The day after the funeral Gina, my nephew Stephen's wife had us over for a BBQ so we could meet the adorable twins (our great niece and nephew) and the rest of her family.
"Can I do something?"
"No, you sit. " Gina said.
"But I'm really good in the kitchen", I said.
I proceeded to put the steak knives away in the wrong knife stand, (maybe so they wouldn't eat steak again).
Tommy Sr. and Kara (Andrew's girlfriend) made stuffed artichokes and marinated eggplant and zucchini for me. Stephen made potatoes and string bean salad.Tommy Jr. brought homemade vegan baked beans. I'm salivating now.
Before Andrew took us to the airport Larry, Andrew and my niece Dawn Marie went to see Tommy Jr. at the other family restaurant, "Two Guys" in Hicksville. Ziti in marinara, potato wedges with fried onions and olive oil, mixed greens with oranges and cracked olives, grilled NY Italian bread with grilled red peppers eggplant fresh basil and drizzled balsamic graced our table. This was Tommy Jr.'s first foray into complete vegan chefdom. I was more than impressed and couldn't stop eating. Delicious!
"Can I help you in the kitchen, Tommy?"
"No, you sit."
"But I'm good in the kitchen." I said.
Then I went to clear the plates and I dropped three forks.
I would love to mention every kindness and generosity extended to us when we were back in NY, but there isn't enough space here. I realized I don't know how to finish this blog because I just don't want to say goodbye again. Since this is a vegan blog, I want to tell you something else about Lynn.
In addition to her vivaciousness, Lynn adored all kinds of animals almost as much as she did babies and QVC. In reverence to Lynn and this beautiful family, this week my blog will be devoted entirely to Vegan Italian cuisine. Grazie Mille!
If you are in New York and want some great food prepared by great people please visit:
Nunzio's Pizza Town
751 Route 109 West Babylon New York
Two Guys Pizzeria
94 West Old Country Road. Hicksville. New York
Cavatelli with Fava Beans (Two Guys)
Lynn, the table will never be the same without you. We love you forever. xoxoxo