Happy New Year!

A very special Happy New Year to all my Italian food loving friends and family. This past year has been challenging to say the least. I hope 2012 brings you all everything you want including health, happiness and stomachs full of good food and drinks.

Growing up in Brooklyn, New Years eve was another extension of Christmas Eve in our house. Only difference was the cooking was not as formal. My mother and grandmother made homemade pizza, and mpanada with broccoli and olives, scaciatta Catanese with provolone and pepperoni and fried onions. And the one thing I remember most about New Year’s eve was my mothers famous punch. From the moment I can remember my mother made this punch for New Year’s Eve. It was made with pink lemonade, ginger ale, whisky and Angostura bitters with some maraschino cherry thrown in and a block of ice she made in one of her plastic containers. The crystal punch bowl came out and everyone, including myself, had a taste of punch.

The basement of my house on 77th Street was set up once again for a family celebration. My father brought out a custom-made table top he fabricated himself and set it on top of a couple of saw horses. This was the only way we would have a table large enough to fit everyone. And everyone had to sit around the table, all 20 of us, including visiting neighbors and additional relatives.

When it got close to midnight my mother would take out the plastic sack filled with noise makers and bells and clanking paddles and hand them out to everyone. We turned on the small 12″ screen TV we had in the basement and tuned into  the channel that featured Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians playing at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. It wasn’t New Year’s Eve without him.  The countdown was always exciting and the stroke of midnight rang in the new year with the sounds of the Royal Canadians playing Auld Lang Syne, everyone screaming and making noise, and what seamed like a never-ending line of hugs and kisses from everyone in the room.

Happy New Year!

About Peter Bocchieri

Peter was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and is a second generation Italian-American. He has a degree in Journalism from Long Island University and is an avid photographer, gardener and pet owner. Now that Peter is retired, he is relaxing at his home in North East Pennsylvania and cooking for his sons, Michael and Joseph, family and friends. Peter's passion for food was inspired by his Mother's and Grandmother's cooking, but at the age of 10 Peter felt he could do it better himself, so he did.
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4 Responses to Happy New Year!



  2. Louise says:

    Happy New Year to you and those you love Peter.
    Thanks for bringing all those special memories back to my life…. by sharing yours.
    Please keep sharing those recipes.
    So many you wrote about I never heard of. Now those I would love to learn to cook 😉
    Thanks for all the time and effort you put everything you send out to us.

  3. marianna ricci-wilson says:

    here it is new year’s eve & your post brought me back in time to re-live my family moments. thank you for sharing your memories w/ all of us. NYE was a day of abstinence so we always had some sort of fish or seafood. we might have raw oysters on 1/2 shell, seasoned, broiled oysters, sea urchins, fried shrimp, steamed clams in wine, mussels, fried calamari, etc. sometimes all of these, sometimes a few. for NYD, we always had lentils made into a thick soup along w/ a pork roast or stuffed chicken. my mother spent a great deal of time in the kitchen preparing food & us kids helped according to our abilities. NYE was a time of merriment, our family hooped it up, just as your family did on the stroke of 12. there were nutty people who, drunkenly went outside & shot off guns to the detriment of others around them. kids sometimes got burned from fire-works. i wonder if your nonna ever made mussels the way my mother did. mama opened the shells slightly & inserted a spoonful of a dressing [breadcrumbs, egg, chopped garlic, parsley, salt & pepper] the shells closed, b/c the creature was alive, & mama tied it closed w/ string & cookes them in the tomato sauce that was used to mix w/ the pasta. they were delicious when opened & the mussel & dressing were cooked together. gee, i’m sorry that this is so long. i wish you & all of your family a very happy, healthful, joyous & peaceful new year. my best to you, marianna.

  4. Rosemary Morsani says:

    I feel like we must be related. Your stories are so much like my life, cooking in the basement, NYE same as Christmas Eve, etc, etc. Funny made me think of my grandparents and now I am one! They are long gone but not forgotten.

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