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July 15, 2011     Post-Gazette
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July 15, 2011

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II air II IIllil liHliN |lfl IILerllBilllIil!nlill InmilHJ uimlmm mIliLl IIlml!i IBI II1 i! i,lJ Ji lIIiJ IL INNLI lldlJ POST-GAZETTE, JULY 15, 2011 Page13 00N'anna 00Babb0000onno n n nn nn n nlln A couple of weekends ago, I was at the Sons of Italy convention. Yes, I did run for office. Yes, I did win. I'm now in my second term as a state trustee. Many of the lodges that were represented at the convention had hospitality suites to entertain the con- ventioneers after the busi- ness hours of the annual meetings were over. Many of the lodges offered home-made treats to any of the folks who dropped by for a visit. I, like most of the delegates, dropped by favorite lodge suites and sampled the food. I didn't try the bottled wines that were offered, and there is a reason. Most wines have chemical additives that pre- vent or retard the wines from becoming vinegar, This is especially true of wines that are imported, and all of the wine I saw was Italian in origin. I am one of those creatures that are sensitive to the ni- trates that are found in wine. The process is a normal one during fermentation, but wines imported to the United States have the addition of more sulfur nitrate to slow the fermentation, and I am affected by it. My nose runs and I get headaches. If there is natural salt that is unusu- ally high, my fingers and feet swell. As a result, I usually don't drink wine. Don't get me wrong; I enjoy the taste of wines, both red. white, and anything in between. Like many of you, I grew up on home-made wine. Babbononno, Grandpa Christ- oforo, and Uncle Jim. Grandpa's son-in-law made wine. I mustn't forget Zi'Antonio, Nanna's oldest brother ... his was the best. Their wines did nothing to me except satisfy my taste buds due to their qualities and lack of additives. Years ago, Loretta and I were invited out to dinner by someone who was try- ing to impress us, He brought us to a gourmet restaurant. the type of place where the food tastes great, but you leave hungry due to the small sized portions. Our host ordered a bottle of Rothschild Chateauneuf du Pape for about 8200.00. I drank a glass with my dinner and wound up with an expensive headache and a runny nose. So much for gourmet din- ing and my peasant reac- tions. When we arrived home. I made myself a double Brioschi and that straightened me out. Getting back to the con- by John Christoforo A Nostalgic Remembrance i i. i. venti'on. One of our lodge members arrived late, dur- ing the evening of the first day of the annual get to- gether. He is a Boston attor- ney and had to finish work before he ventured to New Hampshire to join the con- vention group. Although a young man, he carries on the adition of old and makes his own wine. He arrived with a gallon jug in hand and offered everyone who wanted to sample his creation, a good sized amount. Knowing there were no additives in his wine. I tried a glass. It was magnificent and my nose didn't start to run, nor did I wind up with a headache. As I sipped the wine, which was accompanied by home-made cheeses, cold cuts, roasted peppers, marinated mush- rooms, rand the like, I re- flected on by-gone days when my family sat around the kitchen table consuming the appetizers that preceded Sun- day dinners. Even though I was a kid, I was allowed to have a small glass of wine under the supervision of the family. Babbononno had stopped making wine by the time I was old enough to remember the goings on at the house on Eutaw Street in East Boston. When World War II came along, Babbononno stopped making wine for whatever reason, and from that point on relied on obtaining his wines from his brother- in-law, Nanna's brother. Zi'Antonio Ceruolo. I don't ever remember red wine be- ing warm, the way they serve it in most restaurants, today. They call it. "Room tempera- ture," but to me it is warm wine. The old timers in my family considered room tem- perature to be around 50 or 60 degrees and until the bottles were ready to be opened, stayed in the cellar, Babbononno had the old ice box brought to the cellar when he and Nanna first bought their first refrigerator. Wine was often stored in it until it was ready to be consumed. I guess room temperature to Italian taste buds differed from those of Americans who. to Babbononno, drank warm wine. Every fall, Dad, Uncle Jim. and I would help Grandpa Christoforo make wine. He prided himself of his vintages and rightly so. His wine was great tasting, but strong, very strong. I guess my grandfa- ther needed the strength in the wine as everything he cooked was hot. He included -- FOR YOU WHO APPRECIATE THE FINEST THE MUSIC FOR ALL OCCASIONS 781-648-5678 i hot pepper in his sauces, with his meats and on his pastas.. If I didn't know better, I would swear he was Mexican due to his love for things hot and spicy. Grandpa would also make white wine which he considered a summer wine. This was as strong as his red, and just as good. He would chill a bottle and you couldn't tell how strong it was until you finished the first glass, and then it hit you. Uncle Jim was a good winemaker. He was a Dello Russo from East Boston, and when he married Dad's sis- ter, Aunt Mary, they rented an apartment in East Boston without a wine cellar. As a result, he used Grandpa Christoforo's equipment after Grandpa finished making his annual batch. He also made great anisette. After my mother passed away in 2007, I found the remnants of a bottle of Uncle Jim's anisette in the cellar of her house. It had been there for decades. because Uncle Jim passed away in the 1960s from can- cer, and had stopped making beverages when he got sick. I have no problem drinking wine in other countries. They don't usually put addi- tives in to prevent or slow the fermentation. As a result, I don't succumb to the prob- lems I mentioned above. When my son, John, was living in Switzerland and we visited, we drank wine with just about every dinner and I didn't have a problem. Even though it is a country com- posed of many ethnic groups, Italian food dominates and Italian and French wines are the most popular. I drank the Italian wines with each din- ner and ... nothing, no runny nose. no headaches and nothing swollen. I get a kick out of people who fashion themselves as wine connoisseurs. Most are phonies in my estimation. I once proved this to myself. I had an acquaintance who continuously bragged about his knowledge of wines and his sensitive pallet. He be- came unbearable and I de- cided to play a trick on him. I poured the cheapest Califor- nia red into an empty bottle with a French label. A friend corked the bottle and se- cured the top. I gave the bottle to the expert. He sniffed the cork, took a small sip, spit it out, took another sip which he swallowed and then began to tell me about where the grapes were grown in France. He then added what type of grapes they were, how the wine was made, fer- mented, bottled, who ex- ported it to the United States, who the importer was and the history of both companies. As I said, it was the cheapest California wine I could much for the wine expert. I never told him of my switch, but several people knew what I had done. I guess I should have been ashamed, but I wasn't. GOD BLESS AMERICA The Socially Set (Continued from Page 9) Preview Party sponsor Roger Goldstein Goldstein. "The Handel and Haydn Society is preparing for its Bicentennial celebration in 2015, and as we move closer to this historic landmark, we have been increasing our outreach and commu- nity partnerships," explains Executive Director/CEO Marie-H61ne Bernard. "This grant will strengthen our ability to reach new audiences through educa- tional performances at area children's and neigh- borhood organizations, per- formances programs at sis- ter visual and theater arts organizations, free lectures at public libraries, and many other initiatives." Handel and Haydn Society is a professional Period Instrument Orchestra and Chorus and an internation- and Cindy (Photo by Roger Farrington) ally recognized leader in the field of Historically Informed Performance, a revelatory style that uses the instru- ments and techniques of the composer's time. Founded in Boston in 1815, H&H is the oldest continuously per- forming arts organization In the United States and has a longstanding commit- ment to excellence and innovation. Enjoy! (Be sure to visit Hilda Morrill's gardening Web site. In addition to events covered and reported by the columnist. "The Socially Set" is compiled from various other sources such as news and press re- leases. PRNewswire services. etc.) New Food Trucks (Continued from Page 2) Nation - 2 Trucks: "Minnie" and "Cheese Force One," Kick*ss Cupcakes. The Froyo Truck, Clover Fast Food, Bon Me and Pennypackers. Additionally. there will be a searchable, user-friendly application available on / foodtrucks and on starting next week that will tell the public which trucks are at which locations/schedule. As part of the Mayor's Healthy Food Initiative, food trucks applying to partici- pate in the program must include at least one healthy menu option that does not include fried foods, trans- fats, or high fructose corn syrup. The healthy menu option also has to include at least three of the follow- ing: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, reduced fat or lean meats that are grilled, broiled or baked. Additionally, participating trucks were asked to provide a statement on their com- mitment to environmental sustainability and commu- nity engagement, and to con- sider joining the Mayor's "Re- think Your Drink" Campaign. Boston's Food Truck pro- gram is the result of a col- laborative effort between the Mayor's Office, the Boston Transportation Department. the Boston Redevelopment Authority. the Public Works Department, and the Parks and Recreation Department. The program is the result of a City Council ordinance that was passed on April 6. The City is still interested" in recruiting new food truck vendors for additional sites. Vendors are encouraged to use the city's new single ap- plication process for procur- ing food truck permits to op- erate in Boston as well as a new site license process for trucks interested in selling on the public way, For more information on how to oper- ate a food truck in the city, visit Mobile Food Vending. Harborside Community Center (Continued from Page 4) as a Second Language, GED about any Harborside Pro- prep, computer classes, citi- gram or the Paris Street zenship classes. The num- ber to reach the Adult Edu- cation Department will con- tinue to be (617) 635-5114. If you have any questions Community Center please feel free to call the Paris Street Community Center at (617) 835-5125 or e-mail