Last weekend, in Fresno, we visited the Piemonte's, the Italian deli where my mom shopped weekly when I was a child. It has moved, and it has new owners, but I had quite a feeling of nostalgia when I walked in the door.
There were the Italian pictures on the walls, the jars of brioche (for digestion) that my uncles used to buy, the Italian hard candies filled with jelly, and the little boxes of nougat (Torrone).
The salami case looked smaller, and the cheeses looked like nothing out of the ordinary.
I melted when I saw the five-gallon cans of olive oil my mom used to buy! I am somewhat of an olive oil snob, but I was tempted to buy one as a $44 decoration for my kitchen, as my mom's family were from near Bari.
I chatted with the owner about the "old days" growing up in Fresno. He walked in the back, and took something off the wall. He returned and said, "You may even remember this from the old store." He handed me an old photo thermometer from the 50's that hung in the original location. OF COURSE I remembered it! I saw it every week when shopping with my mom! What a blast from the past! It always reminded me of a picture in my catechism book.
Now let's get to the PASTA! Every couple of months, my mom would "take orders" from her four sisters, and make "a pasta run". They bought various kinds of pasta in 20 pound boxes like these and split them up. There were NO one pound boxes of bags. These came in bulk. When you opened the cardboard box, there was 20 pounds of penne, linguine, rigatoni, or whatever shape. They purchased at least 5 or six boxes at a time, and took some of each. My mom kept hers in huge tupperware containers in the garage during winter, and in the outside fridge in the summer. They measured by "feel", dumping the right amount into the huge pots of boiling water, whether cooking for two or twenty-two! Boy, did those boxes bring back memories. Of course, they also made homemade pasta and meat sauce on Sundays. The dried stuff was for "quick weeknight dinners".
How much pasta is in YOUR kitchen? More on that tomorrow...