Last weekend, we assembled a high-quality team of like-minded, food-crazed Italians to venture to Cape Cod. The team members: my parents, their best friends who we'll call i compari, and me. The mission: procure clams in order to make the perfect spaghettata. Could we have gone to the beach for some summer fun in the sun? Sure. But that would have been, well, normal. There is nothing - no distance too far and no effort too great - that this gang wouldn't do for a good meal. Anyone who knows us will confirm it.
The day started early. I was told to be at my parent's house by 6:30 a.m., we headed to pick up i compari, and hit the road to the Cape by 7:15 a.m. The ride was entertaining. We talked about how our respective gardens were coming along, made a game plan for the day, and, most importantly, openly fantasized about how good la spaghettata was going to be.
Once there, we got right to work. We were off to a slow start, but as the tide began to drop procurement picked up. I can't tell you how exciting it is to dig, hit a good spot, and get 4 - 5 clams at one time. Jackpot! As the day continued, there was some healthy girls vs. guys competition and a little talking smack. My friend Roberta who lives nearby, even stopped for a visit. We gave her some clams so she too could make her own spaghettata. (Can you see why we're friends?)
Satisfied with our clam harvest, we headed to the car for the Italian version of a tailgate. I'm not embarrassed to say we each ate three prosciutto sandwiches while parked under a big tree followed by a full dessert course complete with iced espresso and biscotti. It was a good restorative break before hitting the road.
Once back at my parent's house, after getting stuck in a little weekend Cape traffic, my mother and I went out to the backyard to have another iced espresso. It was early evening and we were both tired from the day's efforts and travel. In conversation, I said I was leaving in an hour to get home and prepare for my week. My dad looked over and said, "What about la spaghettata?" To which my mother responded, "I'm tired right now. We'll make it tomorrow night. Maria will come over after work and we'll eat." My dad looked at us with the expression of a disappointed child and said in Italian, "You know what I'll do? Tomorrow I'll go buy a leash and you can tie me to that corner of the backyard. Then, whenever you feel bad enough for me, you can throw me an old piece of bread. You don't even have to come out. Just throw it from the back door." My mother and I laughed and rolled our eyes. He's so dramatic!
Before leaving, I called my youngest brother to check-in. He said he would be swinging by in a bit. Very predictably (I could have put money on this one!), my mother decided she'd make la spaghettata after all. Shocker! In the kitchen, as my dad peeled garlic, he turned to me and said bitterly yet excited, "I'm lucky your brother is coming over. Now, I get to eat too." I poked fun at my mother's change of heart. "Well, I hope I get my spaghettata fresh tomorrow night and not tonight's leftovers." My mother then pity-shucked us some clams to have crudo just to shut us up.
The next night, I did go over after work and I did get my spaghettata and it was fresh. We ended up having a mini-impromptu feast with our good friends from up the street who happened to stop by during their evening stroll.
Lastly, I want to be clear in case there is any doubt - we did not tie my dad to a tree in the backyard with a leash.