Cut the Take OutWritten by Lisa "The Crock Cook"
A long hard day at work. You get home and need dinner. Nothing in fridge, nothing in cupboard. Take-out again. The wallet just won’t comply much longer.
A long hard day at work (sorry can’t help with that one). You get home and mmmm, what is that aroma? Dinner! Smells delicious, your mouth is watering.
And no you didn’t go to wrong home and no you are not dreaming. You arranged all this, in a few minutes this morning.
What I won lotto and hired a personal chef?
Well no, not exactly – you got a Crock Pot. A Crock Pot? Yep, it’s a cooker that cooks your food over a slow heat. Put it on in morning and dinner is ready at night.
Don’t think you’ve got time in morning. Well you will be pleasantly surprised how quick it can be. Chuck in some veggies (frozen or pre-cut if really short on time), throw some meat on top, pour in a sauce, put on lid and turn it on low. That’s it.
What Wise Guys EatWritten by Skip Lombardi
When I lived in North End of Boston, in nineteen eighties and nineties, I hung around a neighborhood bar from time to time, called The Corner Café. It was located on Prince Street near corner of Salem Street. And it was indeed a neighborhood place. The owner, Richie Longo, was a neighborhood kid who grew up on Prince Street and duly attended Saint Leonard’s School—as his first generation Italian-American parents had—along with all other neighborhood kids.
The regular patrons at time, were neighborhood people too; all of whom seemed to have nicknames. (although, nicknames were useful for identification purposes). There was Joe Lawyer, who wasn’t a lawyer at all, but worked as an insurance investigator. Then there was John Lawyer, who was a stockbroker, and John Lawyer, who really was a lawyer with an office across street. And I was always confused about Mary Nurse, whose nickname seemed unnecessary; she was indeed a nurse, but she was only regular named Mary.
Then there were rest of regulars: mostly young men ,who fancied themselves to be wise guys. Their conversations were peppered with phrases like ‘fuggeddaboudit,’ and ‘ba-da-bing!’ And they often talked about ‘needing to see this guy,’ or ‘having to take care of that thing.’ But despite fact that they revered Robert DiNiro, and may have harbored dreams of being known by a nickname like “extreme unction,” most serious crime any of them may ever have committed was betting on Red Sox late in September.
When these local heros weren’t talking about ‘this guy,’ or ‘that thing,’ though, conversation tended to stray toward food; often, toward Chicken Scarpariello. This was a hot dish—literally, and figuratively—during my years in Boston. And folks often debated qualities of one preparation over another. The talk often centered around merits of Cantina d’Italia’s recipe, that included sausage, over Felicia’s, that didn’t. Sausage or not, though, Chicken Scarpariello is kind of dish that would please any wise guy because it encourages eating with a fork in one hand an a torn-off piece of crusty bread in other; latter, used for sopping up sauce, and for punctuating various exclamations of ‘fuggeddaboudit,’ or ‘ba-da-bing.’
The short version of history of Chicken Scarpariello, ‘shoemaker’s-style’, is that it was named for humble fellow who cobbled together ingredients for dish from his meager pantry. How it became a wise guy favorite is more obscure, and very likely lost to history. But I suggest that when you serve Chicken Scarpariello at home, dinner table conversation will become animated and rise a decibel or two above normal. And will you and your fellow diners enjoy it? Fuggeddaboudit.