Today is Good Friday…the day my father insisted on driving up to “the Hill” to buy all the ingredients to make his pizza rustica. It is a recipe steeped in tradition which is what my father loved about it. His grandmother would roll out her own dough so every year he did the same. He spent a LOT of money on the ingredients (much to my practical mother’s chagrin): all sorts of Italian meats and cheeses. “Why do you do this, Joe? It’s so expensive and we end up throwing so much away,” was my mother’s refrain year after year.
He would sing (from Fiddler on the Roof) in reply, “Tradition! Tradition!” He spent so much time and energy making this Easter dish. I didn’t really care for it so it was not something I looked forward to. Yet there was a part of me that loved and respected his sentimental side. He made this dish because it was an integral part of his Easters growing up with his parents and grandparents whom he adored. He wanted to keep a piece of them with him. He wanted us to remember where we came from. And the man loved cheeses and cold cuts more than anyone I’ve ever known.
It is hard to believe he has been gone for a month now. The reality of it is starting to set in for us all. There will be no pizza rustica this year. In fact, we made reservations to go to a restaurant for brunch. We need to get through the first holiday without him. But I can smile thinking of his beloved parents and grandparents eating it with their little Giuseppe once again this Easter.