My Uncle Vinnie was one of the coolest guys I ever knew. He worked for the New York City Department of Sanitation. He was a “garbage man”, and when I was a little girl, I wanted to be just like him. He got to ride up and down the streets all day, hanging onto the outside of a big truck. He got to wear a nifty uniform that didn’t involve plaid jumpers or navy blue oxfords. He got to get as dirty as he wanted, and didn’t have to wash his hands every five minutes. And, he got to cart home all kinds of loot that he’d found on his route.
And, don’t you even think for a minute that because my uncle was a sanitation worker he didn’t have a keen mind and a sharp wit – because he did. He was more well-read and up on current events than almost any other adult I knew. You could talk to him about anything, from politics to opera, and he would always come up with some nugget of information that no one had ever known before.
Uncle Vinnie and my Aunt Yolanda didn’t have any children back then. When my cousins and I were kids, we would all take turns spending the weekends over at their house. It was great for our parents, because they got to get us out of their hair for a few days. It was great for us kids, because Uncle Vinnie and Aunt Yolanda were a fun young couple. They were groovy. They were hip. They played bossa nova records on their old Zenith console.
Spending time at my aunt and uncle’s house was a little like Christmas. There were always some brand new, still in the box toys, games, books, records and other assorted “treasures” to sift through. Seriously, I’m talking about merchandise still sealed with the store tags on! I can remember asking Uncle Vinnie why people would buy perfectly good things and then throw them away without even opening them. I mean, even if they were unwanted gifts, you could still give them away or donate them to charity. He would smile and say “People are funny. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”
I was reminded of that phrase as I was preparing this Pasta con le Regaglie. At first glance, it looks like a lovely bowl of pasta dressed with a rich, chunky, meaty sauce. And, that is exactly what it is. Except, that the meats in question are chicken livers, gizzards and hearts. That’s right – livers, gizzards and hearts- better known as offal and more delicately referred to as giblets. And, do you know what? They are delicious! Now, before you click away in horror, hear me out. read more >>