Thursday, December 24, 2015

Story Time: Christmas Lasagna

So anyone who has been following me for a while knows about my mothers Christmas lasagna. It's the best lasagna on the planet. However, do you know the story behind it? Well, I'm gonna tell you. lol

My mothers lasagna didn't originate from my mother, it originated from me. Well, not me but from the man who had it handed down to him from his family. You see, when I went to Italy while serving in the Navy, I had a friend who had an uncle who lived in Naples, Italy. His uncle owned a building that stretched for about half a city block or more. On the ground level, he owned perhaps the largest fashion store in Naples, and on the second floor, the best restaurant in the world. In the basement of this huge building, 1/4 of it was turned into a night club. After going ashore with my friend, he took me to meet his uncle at the restaurant. We ate for free as his guests and that is the night I had the best lasagna ever! I complimented him and after we ate, we went downstairs to the night club, again as his guest, and we drank for free.

However, while we were there, no music could be overheard yet, in the back part of the bar I saw this huge booth with the latest in music technology. It was a DJ booth. It had two turntables, two cassette players and two 8-track players. This booth was loaded. I asked my friend about it and he had one of the waitresses fetch his uncle so I could ask him about it. My first question to his uncle, when he arrived downstairs, was, "Do you have a DJ who is going to come in later and start playing some music?"

His uncle informed me that no, he had no one on staff who could operate the booth, but then he looked at me, "Would you like to give it a try?"

"Sure." I replied, even though I knew nothing about being a DJ and certainly didn't know if I could operate the equipment inside. The uncle showed me into the booth and once the door closed behind us, all of the outside noise in the bar was gone. "It's virtually sound proof." I said.

The uncle showed me around. "If you do this," he told me, "I will let you drink for free all night."

Well, this pleased me very much because when I was in the Navy, drinking was my second favorite thing. (Women was my first favorite thing.) "It's a deal!" I replied.

Anyhow, I not only pulled it off that night, but I also went back the following night and DJ'ed for him. That second night, the place was jam packed. Word had got around quickly about the "American DJ" at this bar who took requests. I also put out a tips jar that got filled every time I DJ'ed. And by every time I mean, when we came back to Italy for the second time, I had received a three day vacation from a request chit I sent through my chain of command. We arrived on Friday morning, I left ship Friday evening around 3:00 PM and had the weekend plus that Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I didn't have to be back on the ship until Thursday morning for 7:00 AM muster.

I spent all my time working that DJ booth for about 150.00 dollars a night in tips, plus there were a couple sleeping rooms in the basement and what was a mini locker room and a private kitchen that looked abut the same size as the kitchen in his restaurant. So I ended up sleeping in one of the rooms. I would wake up around 9 or 10 in the morning, take a shower, go up top and get something to eat at the restaurant (free of charge) and then go sight seeing (sometimes with one of the girls who worked the bar) and then by 5 or 6 in the evening, I was back at the bar at the DJ booth playing songs for our sailors. It was a sweet gig.

By the time I had to go back to the ship, I said goodbye to my new friend, the uncle, and again told him how much I loved his lasagna. (It was just about all I ate when I was there) and he said to me, "Wait, I have a gift for you." He left for a few minutes and when he returned, he handed me a piece of paper. It was the recipe for the lasagna. "It's a family recipe," he said, "keep it only in your family and share with no one else."

I agreed.

When I got back to the ship, I ended up sending the recipe to my mother to hold for me until I returned home. And when that time came, my mother refused to give me the recipe. As it turned out, she got the recipe in mid November and tried making it that Christmas and everyone loved it so, she decided to bogart the recipe for herself. That was also the first year of moms Christmas lasagna.

Mother didn't give the recipe back to me until about three or four years ago. The only reason she gave it back to me was because now I have to help make it for the family on Christmas. Now, I know what you're thinking, lasagna is lasagna. Well, no it's not. This lasagna is the best I have ever tasted. I got this recipe from an Italian chef from Italy. Nobody, and I mean nobody, makes Italian food like an Italian so don't even try to go there, and don't even say so nothing about nothing. It's just a fact.

But now I have that recipe back and now I can enjoy that Christmas lasagna any time I want. Speaking of which, I'm making it right this very moment while writing this post and I have to go now so, you all have a very merry Christmas. I'mma gonna fix, and then eat me some, Christmas lasagna.  

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