Flying With Dean

In a large mixing bowl add about a pound of organic ground beef, half a pound of ground veal (perhaps some ground pork too, if on hand), two large eggs…a heaping quarter of a cup of freshly chopped Italian parsley….and, don’t forget three cloves of garlic, minced (it’s gotta be the real thing; No garlic salt for this woman…ever!). Throw in a cup of plain bread crumbs and another cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese followed by a teaspoon of salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Hmm….am I forgetting anything?

Mix it all well with a fork.

Take a moment to pour yourself a glass of wine (a hearty red is my choice) then pull up a playlist of music appropriate for the occasion…in this case, Italian music.

Hmm.  I’m thinking Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin this evening.

Ahh…yes!  Now the mood is set!

Take a sip of wine….

and begin.

Begin what?

The rolling of meatballs of course!

So, earlier in the day I tried–in vain I might add–to interest my son in a bonding cooking moment. His diet is …in a word…atrocious.

“Would you be open to making meatballs with me,” I asked, knowing that I would be appealing to his love of meat. “You’d be surprised at how empowering it is to make something wonderful in the kitchen…with your own hands. The outcome–and the experience–promises to be infinitely better than what comes out of a Chef Boyardee can.”  I say this with a certain nonchalance….as chilled as possible… hopeful that he would seize the moment.

Yep….you guessed it. A lot good it did me.  I may as well have been talking to a brick wall. At the end of the day whatever it is that I ask of my man-child boils down to ” I just don’t want to [do it].


I stewed over it for all of five minutes then erased it from the video streaming in my head.

Well I tried.

There seems no convincing this man-child of mine that taking a little time to prepare food with fresh ingredients is infinitely better than chemically processed frozen or canned crap.  For instance, my freezer usually is practically empty (a couple of bags of frozen veggies and salmon burgers and fillets…that’s about it.  Okay, full disclosure: there is, on occasion, ice-cream).  But, since my son returned on my doorstep it’s full of stuff I haven’t purchased in over twenty-five years.   He has filled it with Marie Callender pot pies, bags of ravioli, pizza bites, and horror of horrors….WHITE bread! Gag.

Anyhow, pish-posh to his maddening stubbornness.   So,  I’m going to make meatballs anyway.  And, for the record, let it be known that spaghetti and meatballs is not a true Italian dish.  It’s Italian-American. I rarely make meatballs but I was willing to step a little outside of being faithful to my northern Italian heritage to bond with my son.  Instead…Rocket-man and I were the only ones in the kitchen.

I swayed to the music as I rolled meatballs and dredged them in a bit of flour before adding them to a pan containing a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.

In minutes the lovely fragrance of garlic and olive oil permeated the house.

Rocket-man was amused, I’m sure, to hear me belting out Volare along with Dean Martin as we worked together in the kitchen (a rare moment, I might add).

“Volare, oh oh
E contare, oh oh oh oh
Nel blu, dipinto di blu
Felice di stare lassu….”

Then I stumbled for the next line or two.  It mattered not if I didn’t know all the lyrics: I was flying with Dean and in my happy place.

The outcome of my efforts?

Veramente, buonissimo. Really yummy.

Later, my son actually joined us at the table.  Naturally he happily devoured the real deal — food NOT out of a can–though with scant appreciation for the effort.

Some day, it will be a memory that hopefully he holds dear.

Never give up I say.

Thank you “Dino” for seeing me through my meatball moment. 


2 thoughts on “Flying With Dean

  1. I suppose its in my DNA as a mother to never give up hope. He’s 35…my son…but a mystery to me. Love him still….and always will, but finding hope is often a stretch. I just need to keep on believing. This thing called “impermanence” has been stuck in my head as of late. Everything changes….constantly….and that is what keeps me hope-filled. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving. 🙂 I’m already in sweat pants in anticipation of all the food tomorrow! ❤


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