WHEN LIFE WAS SIMPLE
Our Sunday dinner, more often than not, would consist of a pasta dish or soup usually followed by a roast chicken or two. We always ate around 2pm. Mom always had a table cloth on the kitchen table and amongst the clattering of the silverware my mother would shout out to us, “go get your father, the foods almost ready”.
My father would more than likely be working on his 54 Mercury in our driveway. I never remember him going to a mechanic, not even for oil changes. He always did it himself. That was during a time when you didn’t have to be a computer genius or rocket scientist to do the work on your car. Autos were much simpler then. You could open your hood and actually see and identify the engine.
I remember one time not that long ago I was up in New Paltz New York with some friends. A very attractive young lady had asked me if I could help her start her car, her battery was dead. When I opened the hood of my 1994 Cutlass Supreme convertible I was at a loss. I could not find my battery to attach the jumper cables. I just stared under the hood perplexed. I could not find my battery! I knew what the damn thing looked like but for the life of me it was not where a battery should be. When she walked over to ask if something was wrong I said, “no no, I just need to hop in my car a minute to do something before I attached the cables”. I frantically searched in my glove compartment for the owners manual and hoped I could figure it out before this young lady thought I was a total fool.
No owner’s manual.
I got out of the car and said, “You should ride with me, my car doesn’t even need a battery, this thing is solar powered!” Life was much more simple in the 50’s and 60’s, certainly cars were.
As I walked out of my house to call my father for dinner I could see half his body sticking out from under the hood. “Dad, come on, time to eat”. My father lifted himself out from under the hood with a ratchet and spark plug in his hands. “OK, I’ll be right there”, he said. I went back into the house and sat myself down on our living room sofa and picked up the Sunday Daily News. I flipped through the sections and took out the comics to read. I could hear my father coming in from the basement and washing up in his bathroom downstairs. “Sal!”, my mother shouted, “bring up the chicken when you come up”. My mother only used the oven in the basement for cooking.
When my father came up from the basement with the roasting pan filled with two of those golden brown chickens, Sunday dinner was about to begin. My brother and sister made their way to the kitchen and took their places at the table. I walked into the kitchen with an insert from Macy’s and showed my mother a toy I wanted for Christmas. Without even looking at me she said, “Put that down, it’s time to eat, you can show me later”. My father looked at me and said, “Come on, put that away, you have enough toys”.
It was Sunday dinner and the most important thing at that moment was the plate of macaroni my mother was serving us. It was as simple as that.
Chicken in Wine Siciliano
- chicken legs and thighs
- 2 medium potatoes, blanched and cut in 1/8’s
- 4 whole cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion sliced thin
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup rinsed capers
- 1/4 cup pitted Kalamata or oil cured olives
- 4 peeled plumb tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
To blanch the potatoes, put them, peeled or unpeeled, in a pot and fill with cold water. Turn the heat to medium high. When the water starts to boil allow the potatoes to cook for 10 minutes. Drain, cool and cut into 1/8’s. Set aside.
Soak chicken parts in salted water for 1/2 hour. Rinse pieces well and pat dry with paper towel.
In a large saute pan heat olive oil on medium heat. Saute the chicken till browned on all sides.
Add the garlic and onions and continue cooking till the onions get soft.
Add the capers, olives, tomatoes, salt and pepper and cook 2 minutes.
Add the parsley and potatoes and pour the white wine and wine vinegar over the chicken. Cook for about two minutes. Cover the pan and cook till the chicken is done, about 15 minutes. Turn the chicken halfway through.
After 15 minutes uncover the pan and reduce the sauce a bit.
Plate the chicken and pour the wine sauce over it. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving. Don’t forget the Italian bread.