You see, in the Sault, we ate "pasta." That's pronounced "pah-stah," not "pass-ta." Some of the pasta we made by hand, some we got from Primo Foods. We made long, thin, fairly wide, flat pasta that we called "tagliolin'" plus lasagna and stuffed pastas like cappelletti. Our cappelletti was usually small, square and suffed with meat, like ravioli. But sometimes they were shaped more like tortellini. The bought pasta was usually penne rigate. The "rigate" part is important. That means the penne have lines along the outside that hold the sauce. I once bought penne lisce, which is smooth. It didn't taste very good. You need your pasta to hold onto the sauce!
Since moving away from the Sault, I've discovered that my experiences eating out in the Sault are different from what is found in other cities, even in Italian establishments in other Canadian locations. In addition to the serving of pasta in shapes other than spaghetti, a key difference about dinners in the Sault is that they are served family-style. Platters of food are brought to the table and people serve themselves. If you want seconds, you can take more food from the platter and after that ask for another platter if you're still hungry. No one hesitated to ask for more.
If you're from the Sault, right now you're nodding your head. If you're not from the Sault, you're looking at the screen like I have three heads. Believe me, when we were planning our wedding reception in Ottawa, a few caterers looked at me very strange. We chose an Italian cater who at least had the savvy to say, "ah yes, you're from the Sault. We don't to it that way here, but if people want seconds, we will bring them another plate." Well, I suppose that would do in a pinch.
Here's your standard menu for a special dinner out in the Sault, a wedding reception or a big anniversary or birthday celebration.
- Cappelletti Soup in Chicken Broth
- Penne with Meatballs
- Roasted Chicken, Roasted Potatoes, Green Beans
- Green Salad -- usually iceberg lettuce (but in the old days that's all you could buy), with peeled cucumber and tomato and a plain oil and vinegar dressing.
We ate essentially the same meal any time the family got together. Though at Christmas the roast chicken was replaced by turkey. At home, the dessert was usually Cherry Cheesecake (the no-bake type) and whatever pies my grandmother made. Lemon meringue was my favourite.
If you're from the Sault, where was your favourite place to eat? Minelli's, the Marconi Club or your nonna's? What was your favourite part of the meal? Who remembers "Peaches" for dessert? Will you admit you still love iceberg lettuce? How long has it been since you had Cappelletti Soup?
Tell me about your Sunday dinner memories.