Some have said that the strength of this blog is not the recipes or the photos (AHEM!), but rather the family stories. I received many a complement on my first Thanksgiving post because readers enjoyed the family anecdotes and felt they could relate.
Relatability is an interesting theme. Here on this blog, I’m hoping that you can relate to what I cook and eat, but maybe, in fact, you would better relate to John or Marmo…or—EGADS!—The Box. If the purpose of this blog is to encourage you to eat like a Iaciofano, I should, as a responsible blogger and family representative, determine WHICH Iaciofano. Because while Iaciofano-land is small—4 main members with 2 satellites (Aunt Emily and Toby)—there is a world of difference in terms of eating habits and preferences.
So we shall begin at the top…or, uh, the bottom of the Iaciofano food chain, depending on how you look at it with:
The Box rules the Iaciofano roost from one of two places:
1. Asleep on the couch “watching” the golf channel.
2. From the salty waves of Long Beach Island, NJ aboard his trusty ship, The Contingent Fee.
I’m sure he does other things, I just don’t know what they are.
Part of my job as eldest child and only daughter is to give the The Box a steady stream of “the business”, which includes ribbing, jests, intellectual assaults, harassment and etcetera with the sole purpose of mentally exhausting him so that he:
1. Changes his attitude, or
2. Is too tired to care what I’m up to.
Let me be clear that #1 has never happened. However, taking after my father, I keep at it in a stubborn streak he attributes to Marmo’s side of the family.
It may help the point to know how The Box came to be so named. In my younger years, I used to affectionately refer to my father as “Fat Boy”. I believe this was in retaliation for repeatedly enlisting the opinions of house guests as to whether he or I had a rounder head as a baby. Photographic evidence was always provided.
Back in the days before smart phones, John texted me about our dad. Because he neglected to push the “XYZ” button the requisite number of times to activate the “Y”, the text came in as: FAT BOX.
I stared in disbelief at what I considered to be the most advantageous typo known to mankind. Fat Boy was now The Box, a nickname we felt encapsulated his opinions on life and food, as thinking or eating “outside the box” is not something The Box does.
This becomes a challenge when you (by which I mean I) try to revamp his eating habits and preferences to resemble something healthier.
Let me first detail for you The Box’s preferred diet:
Lunch: occasional. The most popular occurance is a Sunday, post-golf “linner” of provolone and sausage (SAUSSICH) enjoyed before falling asleep watching the golf channel.
Dinner: a lot.
Dessert: I’ve seen him eat anything from a bowl of cookies (this at Christmas time) to ice cream to fistfuls of salted peanuts.
Midnight snack: He’s not good at hiding the evidence. Once he ate my school lunch for the next day.
As to types of food, I will rate various items on The Box Scale of Edibility and Enjoyment from 1-5. 5 being the most enjoyable.
Cheese: 5, especially those little mozzarella balls or provolone.
BREAD: 5, notably the little baskets of goodies on restaurant tables.
– Peanuts, cashews, and pistachios, salted: 5
– Almonds, raw: 1
– Heavily-dressed Iceburg Lettuce: 5
– Spinach/Kale: -3
– Tomatoes: 5
– Beets: HA!
– Carrots: ?
– Red Onion: 5
– Poultry: -23907410
– Beef: 10
– Seafood: Meh. He enjoys shellfish, but abhors salmon and even accused Marmo of trying to poison him with it.
– Orange Crush: 5
– Water: 0
As you can see, anyone attempting to revamp The Box’s diet has her work cut out for her.
But last summer I decided enough was enough. The Box is getting older and cholesterol levels don’t lower themselves. So I stepped in and made him a meal plan. Which I lovingly taped to the refrigerator under a photo of Tim O’Donnell, World Champion Triathlete, for effect.
Now, while I insist I had the best of intentions concerning my father’s health, I won’t say that my approach was quite so good. Many arguments ensued including a terrifying bagel stand-off, and a disagreement about ice cream that led me to go to bed so angry, I refused to come back downstairs while he was down there.
I’ve since backed-off, though I try to interject helpful hints along the lines of:
“Do you really think you should be eating that?” and “Egads, man! There’s enough sugar in there to give a horse diabetes!”
Perhaps my methods need work, but as I try to refine both my attitude and The Box’s diet, I should highlight for you how he LIKES to eat and present the recipes of which he is most fond.
So to begin, and in no particular order:
The Box’s Famous Holiday Antipasto: The Box enjoys assembly more than cooking, and this is his piece de la resistance in that category.
And speaking of assembly, and subterfuge, here is The Box’s claim to soup fame with his Fraudulent Clam Chowder.
One food that The Box and I can agree on is Pizza, possibly because of the carbohydrate base of which we are both fond. For his birthday, I treated him to some of my famous grilled pizzas.
Something we DISAGREE on is turkey. Specifically of the Thanksgiving variety.
And if you’re in a rhyming frame of mind, John and I made Pasta for The Box, but not from a Box, Wearing Sox…featuring a video.
Please keep these recipes and eating habits in mind, as I attempt to catalog the eating habits of the rest of the Iaciofano clan…including my own. Stay tuned!