Thursday, August 12, 2010

Meet the Meatballs

(A rare and purely personal item, with apologies to food-seeking readers.)

Sorry, Ma. But the lady taught me nearly everything I know about good food.

More important, twenty-five summers ago now, she decided to marry a meatball. Exactly why I do not know for certain. I'm only glad that she did.

She is here with me last fall, at the exact Lat/Lon where vows were spoken and an elopement, hastily concocted as it was, attempted to take hold. I have a picture of her crying back then, too. I don't get tired of looking at her.

I'd imagine there have been times, not so many I hope, when the lady has doubted the decision she made. I wouldn't blame her for this. I haven't always been a good husband to her. Or friend.

I do know she has been convinced, and on too many occasions, that I have doubted the decision I made. Again, that is my fault. But on this point — on this point! — the lady is just wrong.

Summers and this part of the world are good for celebrating, and this week we've been doing some of that. We're riding together up north, in Canada now, along the St Lawrence, in Quebec Province. I love traveling with her. And coming home with her too.

So many of our friends and family live far away. I wish they could be with us when we get home to Maine. The tomatoes have been more than decent this year; I could make meatballs and a big pot of fresh sauce! The lady, the real cook in this duo, would wish the same I'm sure.

Only a virtual gathering is the best I could manage this time. And so it will just have to do.

Happy A, J.

With love.

From us all.

Limerick on the occasion of the
Meatball Silver Anniversary
In Gotham there were once two foodies
An olive prince, a bad girl, both beauties
They eloped while Down East
That their first wedding feast
Might add lobster to their marital duties.
Congratulations to our darling friends — faithful companions on the road, at the table and through life.
—The McTinderdonks of Holy Loch

Twenty-five years as Mr. and Mrs. Meatball. (If I were you I'd have my name changed.)
A lot of good memories in there, I'm sure. As we came along well into your sojourn, we have fewer memories than most. But we will never forget the biker convention in Wildwood, N.J. or the day we went "dry kayaking." Better times have never been had, but surely will be had again. Here's to 25 more. Cheers!
—Bill and Yvonne

An Endless Multi-part Haiku Sort of Thing
In Honor of The Meatballs' Anniversary
When people ask me
(As they do, I don't know why!
The hell do I know?)

"Kitty, what say you:
Do marriages ever work?"
I pause. I frown. Then....

"Yes!" I say, beaming.
"I have these friends--J and R
'The Meatballs,' they're called.

"They've been married for
hundreds of years. And I think--
No, I know--get this--

they love each other."
"Oh come on," people sputter.
For realz? I don't buy..."

"True story," says I.
"They're like those schistosoma
mansoni worms--or

"you know, swans, gibbons,
bald eagles. Mated for life!
It's so romantic."

People say, "Kitty,
have you ever said that word--

"No," says I. "It's just...
those Meatballs--they make me all--
verklempt!" (dabs her eyes)

Happy anniversary, guys.


Congratulations to both of you. I did not lose a daughter, I gained a wonderful son.
I have such good memories: too many and too varied to pick one. I remember many happy outings with the two of you and Dad: reviewing restaurants in N.J., a weekend in Montauk, a gastronomic weekend in N.Y.C. Then there were the cruises on the Ocean Islander (1988) and the QE2 (1991), and our 30th anniversary at La Cremaillere in Bedford, N.Y., where you surprised us with pre-ordered champagne, and our 35th at Chanterelle in N.Y.C. (the night of the '89 San Francisco earthquake) where we left Mr. M at the table to settle the check that Dave had already taken care of. Then after 2002, the outings were just the three of us. Thank you both.

Seems you guys have the perfect recipe for a happy marriage:
*2 people perfectly blended together
*a large quantity of love and affection
*seasoned freely with laughter and joy
*add spice to taste
*just a dash of bitters to appreciate the sweetness of life
*stir in a generous amount of fun and excitement
A perfect combination for .....LOVE
We love you both
—Susie & John

A quarter century is no small feat
By seven years you have us beat
With pasta, and vino, and herbs galore
In a kitchen with hundreds of pans and more
Be it on a motorcycle or in a boat magnifique
The happy couple has kept the mystique
Is tres romantique
—Clarke and Amy

We never thought it would last this long.
Much love,
—Laura and Dom

Congratulations on your 25th anniversary. Among the many new things I've experienced with both of you are: having lobster on a Maine dock; your expert ordering of Chinese breakfast; sharing gourmet Italian grocery stores; and your wonderful company at our Christmas Eve dinners.
All I can say is "thank you."
Love always,
—Aunt Anna

It's been a "delicious," fun and educational time with both of you. You made making 25 years of marriage into a joyride.
Loads of love.
All from the heart, dear ones.

Mrs. M
Our friendship began in Rutherford and traveled through the years. Really love our telephone chats. You are a good listener and friend.
Happy anniversary and birthday,
—Andrea and Carl

25 years -- say it ain't so! Congratulations, Mrs. M, on your tenacity in putting up with this colorful family.
Got to reminiscing and remembered our first intro was over dinner at La Spaghetteria in the East Village; we thought you were smart, funny -- an all around good egg! Not much has changed over the years. You both are such gracious and generous hosts; we look forward to our annual trek to "Casa Abundanza."
Love always,
—Shabile, Shebeck and the Kids
P.S. Your gift is not in the mail -- what can we say, you already have six of everything!!!

25 years married to a meatball.
How did you do it?

Happy birthday.

We'll never forget all our great adventures together, culinary and otherwise. We shared possibly the world's best breakfast ever at La Boqueria in Barcelona.

Then there was that weekend we spent as castaways off the coast of Maine. Luckily Mrs. M. had us provisioned with some very fine vittles. And we've welcomed in many new years--sometimes conscious, sometimes not.

Wishing you ¡Salud, dinero, y amor y el tiempo para disfrutarlos! To health, wealth, and love and the time to enjoy them!

—Tom and Beth

The words that come to mind are "stalwart," "nurturing" and "loving" -- I mean to me, but I think maybe you've made it to the 25-year mark because that's what you've been to each other as well. To know you is to know your kitchen. I've told you before but--sorry guys, I could tell the story forever--I will remember all of my life the night that John and I drove over to your place for dinner, too tired and sick at heart even to talk in the car on the way over (Yes! John quiet for 15 minutes!) and we sat on your kitchen stools and drank wine and did absolutely nothing except watch Mister M mix up a dough for fresh pasta, and roll sheets of it over and over through some sort of pasta contraption, catching them gently as they fed through and feeding them in again. The sheets got thinner and thinner until a kind of light shone through them, and Mrs. M bustled in the background making delectable other things, and the kitchen filled with talk and steam and wonderful smells, and somehow, miraculously, suddenly we weren't tired and sick at heart any more but for those few hours, filled with a sense of well-being and even happiness. You are two of my favorite people in the universe. Long may you run. Happy 25th. Much love,


We love you so much and really wish we could spend this day with you. Well done, Mrs. M! How did you manage to keep up with Mister Meatball so many years? A special recipe for that dish?
This pic was taken just a few days ago. Since we couldn't enjoy your cooking we went for sushi around the corner!
—Biancamaria, Massimo and Delfina

Happy Anniversary Mrs. and Mr. Meatball.
Congratulations on 25 years of rolling in the sauce together.
—Jordie and Julie

Who would have thought that Mister Meatball's "meat"ball and chain would be none other than my good friend of 22 years? I have known her almost as long as she's been married to Mister Meathead (er, I mean Mister Meatball). This same woman and I have spent countless hours savoring tapas, cuttlefish, absinthe, eye drops and lens cleaner. (Don't ask.) Happy 25th anniversary. Wishing you both nothing but good things for the next 50. Hugs and kisses.

—Mary Ann

Happy Happy Anniversary!
Not to gag you with sweetness, but I would like to say that spending time in your kitchen is one of my most cherished memories. Most especially because of the caring way you dealt with my brother's illness and very special character.
You two were meant to be together in cooking and in loving.
I will raise a glass to you both on the 12th.
You are the perfect recipe.

We rode all day across the coolest (and hottest) part of Texas, rafted the mighty Rio Grande though its deepest canyons and climbed the highest peaks in the southwest (TX) with you guys. Still, you were the best part of the trip. We might-otta try that again sometime. 'Till then, Happy Trails and best wishes to you on your anniversary. Happy, birthday, too, Mrs. M!


—Jeff and Marla

Happy Anniversary guys. I'm glad that Mister M has finally introduced the world to the Mrs. Though I really think of Mrs. more as a slice of pate'! Or a platter of delicious homemade potato salad. Or manchego cheese and spicy peanuts. Or an assortment of horrifying and inedible things in Chinese restaurants. Or...well, it is a long list!

I guess that is because while you, Mrs., have been busy being married to fabulous Mister, I have been busy enjoying your friendship. And it has been and continues to be a wonderful friendship. For the blogosphere, Mrs. and I speak every Thursday at 5:30 a.m. (6:00 a.m. during the summer) MY TIME -- which shows you that a conversation with her is not to be missed. Some of my vivid Mrs. memories: My first day at Bill Communications, when you and Mr. were kindly showing me the ropes and thinking, "will she still be here in a month?" And dining with Mrs. in Gramercy Park as Mr. walked circles around Manhattan. And later, walking with dignity to our rented car in Barcelona, covered with seagull guano. And our couples vacations: flying in a broken plane over Encinada trying not to panic while Steve acted like nothing was happening. Sailing off Catalina and dining on a fabulous meal seasoned with fennel we had collected from the hills -- before I read that wild fennel is indistinguishable from hemlock. And our idyllic sailing trip on the Sea of Cortez before Spirit turned into the vomitorium from H--L, and we all ended up being tracked by the US health department. All I can say is that I hope your motorcycle trip with Mr. Meatball lives up to these high standards!

I miss you both.

XXOO and Happy Birthday too,



La Buona Forchetta said...

And this is why I stay married to him, so now you all know. And this, all my dear friends and family, is why I love all of you so much. Reading this: I laughed, and I cried. Much like life, eh?

Thank you all. I'll never forget the elation I feel right now.

S. said...

Very sweet.. very beautiful... I hope the two of you had a very blissful anniversary.

Claudia said...

Next year is 25 for me and Mr. and I hope is evokes as much love and sweetness as I saw here.

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Happy 25 anniversary Mr. & Mrs Meatball! Aguri & Buona Fortuna!

Jim Lucy said...

Ralph and Joan,

What a wonderful way to celebrate your 25th Anniversary! All the best. Was just thinking about some of our canoe trips on the Delaware River oh-so-long ago and those wonderful meals in NJ when Joan was working with NJ monthly. And, of course, when Mr. M. went to woodworking camp at Peter's Valley that summer.

Jim and Barb