The Great Minecraft Fight of 2015. So far.

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Like any Mom with multiple children, I watch my children interact on a daily basis and wonder what they are going to be like as adults. Will they be close? Will they nurture the sibling bonds I have tried my best to instill? Will they share holidays and encourage each other through all of life’s challenges?

Sadly, if the last few months of Minecraft on the XBox are any indication, the answer is no.

My kids are not new to Minecraft. They used to play it years ago on the iPad and I almost lost my mind. They played it feverishly for months but then their interest waned and I was never so grateful.

For Christmas, I don’t know what he was thinking, but Santa gave my kids an XBox and threw in a $19.99 Minecraft game at the last minute. Because it’s been so cold and awful here in New Jersey this winter they can’t–and won’t–stop playing. And when they play, they fight. And it’s bad.

Here is how the last fight unfolded:

My youngest, who is six and can’t even make himself a sandwich in real life, finally found a fire aspect book somewhere in the nether and was looking forward to enchanting both a sword and an anvil when his sister went downstairs, joined the game, and caused a catastrophic glitch. The glitch caused him to lose all of his stuff, including his map, and in his fury, he grabbed his virtual sword and started virtually hitting her with it.

She started to virtually lose her health, and began “lightly flicking her wrist” in real life against his chest but according to him it was a sudden and violent slap in the face. In response, he let out a fierce battle cry and began savagely beating her in real life with the XBox controller.

She collapsed in a heap on the floor, which caused my other son to briefly look away from whatever he was doing in his world to glance in her general direction since he was obviously very concerned about her. He returned his full attention to the game, but not before calling out to me for help.

I was trying to ignore the battle since I had just made myself a nice salad but felt guilty after my son called out for me so I went down to the basement, where the XBox is located. Once I got down there, I found my 5-foot 6-inch tall 12-year-old daughter curled up in a ball convulsing and sobbing in pain while my 40 lb three-foot-tall six-year-old son stood above her with flames coming out of his ears.

She is usually very dramatic and he is usually very angry so there was a chance that all of this was just business as usual, but I had to assume the worst. I silently grabbed my son (also known as “The Spawn of Satan”), and led him into his bedroom for a time out while my daughter (also known as Vivien Leigh in Gone with the Wind) retreated to her bedroom, slamming the door behind her. I returned to the basement, gathered up the controllers, and hid them in a secret place for an undetermined length of time.

And that is when I FINALLY enjoyed my salad.

 

Let’s Eat the Damn Brie

by Vicky Samori, Blogger for a Day

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I have been on a diet for as long as I can remember. I come from a household where image was everything and the media didn’t do anything to convince me that my body was okay just the way it was. When Sports Illustrated started to feature models with impossibly perfect bodies on their cover, both men and women would swoon, and I knew what I had to do. I began consistently passing on the cheese-drenched nachos, salty french fries and chocolate cake with creamy frosting in order to strut around in my tiny floral bandeau bikini without feeling utterly humiliated.

It didn’t occur to me until decades later that I live in the northeast. I mean, I knew I lived in the northeast, but I never did the math. Out of 12 months, there are really only two in which you can strut without freezing your ass off. And, if you factor in rainy days, sick days, and other non-bikini wearing events that occur in summer, there is really only a single month. So I spent 12 months a year for 40 years–that’s roughly 15,000 days, or 50 percent of my life–depriving myself of all that tastes good in order to look great in a bathing suit for a total of 30 sun-filled Bain de Soleil days.

Looking back, I can admit that I was flawed but it wasn’t my waistline or backside that was the problem. It was my youth. With maturity comes an ability to see the truth, and the truth is that stick figures are for cartoons, not for humans who need to eat and drink in order to survive and, I will argue, be happy. It’s true that there are a few anomalous mommies out there with amazing bodies who can eat whatever they want and not gain weight, but I choose to ignore you…sorry.

Impossible as it seems, I am approaching the big 5-0. Instead of feeling old, I feel liberated. I am done counting calories as if my life depended on it and will no longer look in the mirror with self-loathing. I am embracing the new me. This version has a little more junk in her trunk, but she also fills out a t-shirt nicely. It is in that spirit that I raise my Nutella-filled spoon to all my fellow middle-aged women and say, “F**k it, life is short….let’s eat the damn brie!!”

This summer, I’ll be ditching the tiny bandeau for a body shaping tankini but you can be sure I’ll still be strutting. And I won’t feel utterly humiliated–I’ll be feeling pretty darn good about myself. Cheers!

About Vicky Samori: Vicky is a stay-at-home mother of two (four if you count her husband and dog). She devotes all her time trying not to screw up her children but does find time to read, torture herself with hot yoga, and continue to figure out what she wants to be when she grows up. 

Spring is for Sports, so Let’s Eat

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Everyone is dying for spring, but I am in no rush, mostly because of my allergies. Who am I kidding? It’s because of the sports. This spring I am going to lose my mind shuttling three kids between five sports. I enjoy watching my kids play sports, but if I’m being honest, I don’t enjoy it that much. Certainly not as much as my husband.

Growing up, my husband played football, basketball, and baseball and he excelled at each one. So naturally, watching his kids play sports brings back a lot of wonderful memories.

For me, though, there’s not much to which I can relate. In my youth, I played competitive piano and my exposure to sports was extremely limited. Aside from the 1986 World Series and the OJ Simpson murder trial, my family didn’t really even watch sports on TV.

Today, all kids seem to do is play sports (and Minecraft), and I’ve had a really hard time pretending I know what’s going on. It’s not that I don’t try, I do, but eventually I zone out, irritated by all the noise, especially the piercing whistles. I start thinking about all kinds of things I know no one else on the sidelines is thinking given that there is an actual game going on.

You would think that I would just sit there and politely keep my non-sports thoughts to myself, but I don’t. Instead, I share them. I start blabbing about whatever pops into my head. Most of the time, these thoughts are about food. Here is the transcript of an actual conversation I had with my husband at my son’s basketball game a few weekends ago:

Husband: “Oh my God, how did that not go in?”

Me: “Oooooo! So close!”

Husband: “He’s gotta make those.”

Me: “So I know we said sushi for dinner, but Greg wants spaghetti and meatballs.”

Husband (shouting): “WHO’S GOT 15?”

Me: “Actually, I bet I could get Greg to eat a meatball sub from Subway.”

Husband: “STAY SQUARE!! SQUARE UP!!”

Me: “No, I can’t do that. Subway is junk.”

Husband: “Great job boys!”

Me: “Good job guys!!

Husband: “Whatever you want for dinner, I don’t care. GREG, GET BACK ON D!”

Me: “Alright, well, let me see what he says after the game. I really don’t want to cook tonight. I’m so tired. What time is this over?”

Husband: “HELP HIM OUT, HELP HIM OUT!!!”

Me: “My skin is so dry, I can’t deal. Don’t forget I’m going to that party tonight.”

Husband: “GREAT PASS! What party?”

Me: “The Oscar party, after dinner.”

Husband: “Oh. So don’t cook then. Just do Subway. THREE SECONDS!”

Me: “I don’t want Subway.”

Husband: “That’s right, you said sushi. WATCH IT, HE’S REACHING IN!”

Me: *yawn*

Sometimes, I will be at a game without my husband and my boredom will compel me to start chatting up another Mom, even though she is giving no indication that she is open to chatting. I’ll ask her if she has tried the new restaurant in town and she will answer me but two seconds later she will break eye contact to scream positive encouragements at her child across the field, making me feel like a boob for ever venturing into non-sports territory in the first place. Even my closest friend once gave me “The Heisman” after I offered to share the details of my most recent meal with her so that she could enthusiastically remind her daughter to be “softball ready” in the outfield over and over again.

When my last and youngest starts playing tackle football in a few years, I am hopeful things will be different. If I had to choose one sport to tolerate for the rest of my life, it would have to be football. I’m sure this has something to do with the glorious food of football (e.g., chili, wings, nachos…what’s not to love?) but over the years I have come to understand it much more than any other sport and therefore should be able to pay better attention. Except if it’s cold. Then the only thing I will be able to think about will be those things that keep me warm in winter, like pot roast, sausage lentil soup, and beef stew. Oh well. Maybe I’ll just help at the snack stand.

I need a break, fast

The other night after I went to floor, I experienced mild panic knowing that come morning, I was going to be bombarded by three hungry children without any means to feed them since we had just spent two consecutive days snowed in, eating everything we could get our hands on. There was seriously nothing left, except maybe for some white rice, ketchup, and leftover broccoli.

As I feared, I woke to one child standing over me demanding that I get up and make breakfast. Thankfully, I was able to find some frozen pastries for him hidden deep within the freezer. Another child refused to suffer a sub-par breakfast and instructed me to immediately go to the store for organic strawberry toaster pops. Still another child wanted me to go to the store for chocolate hazelnut spread imported from Italy.

I wanted to tell these extremely demanding children that they should not expect me to cater to their every whim and that white rice, ketchup and leftover broccoli does not only make an appropriate but surprisingly delicious breakfast for many children all over the world. But, I didn’t. I went to the store, even though I hadn’t brushed my teeth and my boobs weren’t being supported in any real way. I was, however, wearing yoga pants and not pajama pants, so as far as I was concerned, I was winning.

Halfway to the store, I realized I wasn’t winning but losing because I would actually have to visit two stores, since Stop and Shop doesn’t carry strawberry toaster pops and Whole Foods doesn’t carry Nutella. Would other Moms do this? Probably not. Other Moms would never find themselves at two grocery stores at 8am on a Friday in a bra meant for sleeping because they are better able to manage their inventory and would never run out of everything in two days. Still other Moms would have had their children up and dressed early so that they could all enjoy a lovely breakfast out, smiling and laughing together at the local diner. I aspire to be one of those mothers, but I’m afraid I will never get there.

Anyway, I returned home and prepared everyone’s special breakfasts by request. They were kind and appreciative, until I revealed I would be packing them white rice, ketchup, and leftover broccoli for lunch–then they got all demanding again. Can you imagine? With that, I announced that I needed a break (fast), and I locked myself in the bathroom, but not until I grabbed a pen and paper to make a proper grocery list once and for all.

 

Lessons from the Floor

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For the last several days, I have been sleeping on the floor of my kid’s bedroom. I know it sounds crazy, but I have a good reason.

My bedroom is upstairs, and the kids’ bedrooms are downstairs, which means that if a kid is sick or otherwise needs me during the night, I have to haul my 43-year-old body all the way down the staircase and back again–sometimes, multiple times in the same night. As you can imagine, this is not fun.

It is far better for me to find a place to sleep downstairs when someone is sick or otherwise needs me. However, it can’t be the couch in the living room because it is made of hard, slippery leather. It can’t be the loveseat because it isn’t big enough. It can’t be a trundle or similar bed because we don’t have the floor space, and it can’t be an air mattress because it is way too buoyant and I’m afraid of vertigo.

I should also mention that Cosmo, our one-year-old Shih Tzu puppy, will not even entertain a scenario that does not include him sleeping as close to me as possible, so whatever solution I come up with has to consider his needs as well.

Ultimately, I decided to purchase a cheap crib mattress on clearance at Babies R Us and combine it with an old toddler-size foam couch emblazoned with Dora the Explorer logos that I store under the basement stairs for such an occasion. This set-up is admittedly pretty awful, but at least it’s something.

Here is what I have learned from sleeping in this manner over the last several days:

  1. It is difficult to sleep on a shitty crib mattress/toddler-size Dora couch combo on the floor with a dog, but not impossible.
  2. I get really snippy when I am tired. And I am sorry.
  3. My skin breaks out when I don’t get enough sleep. See rosacea, or lupus.
  4. I am a selfish brat for complaining about sleeping on the floor temporarily, since there are millions of people around the world who happily sleep on the floor every single night. See Shanty Town.
  5. Dogs don’t care if there isn’t enough room for them in your “bed,” they will still find a spot.
  6. Husbands don’t care if you’ve been sleeping on the floor for several days; they still expect clean undershirts, hot meals, and other things. See 50 Shades of Are You Kidding Me?
  7. It’s funny to say “I’m going to floor” at the end of a long day.
  8. Since heat rises, it’s f**king cold on the floor.
  9. Despite my shitty crib mattress/toddler-size Dora couch combo, it’s still hard on the floor.
  10. Only J-Lo can dance the night away, live her life and stay young on the floor.

When Your Child Has Surgery

I have a friend who recently underwent a long and complex orthopedic surgery–not her own, but her child’s. The whole thing played out on social media, as do lots of things these days, and it brought me right back to when my daughter had knee surgery in 2013 at the age of ten. Here are all the emotions parents go through after hearing the news that their child needs surgery:

Dread — We know how our kid reacts to a splinter and that the level of pain they are going to experience with surgery is going to rock their world, not to mention that they will likely be out for the entire winter/spring/summer/fall basketball/soccer/baseball/lacrosse season and are going to be pissed.

Intimidation — After scouring planet Earth for a surgeon with just the right mix of skill, experience and compassion, we grill him with questions so detailed it sounds like we, too, are orthopedic (or maxillofacial or urological or whatever) surgeons and would do the surgery ourselves if not for the conflict of interest. We want to make sure the doctor knows that we are more informed than the average parent and therefore should perhaps be taken a little more seriously.

Confidence — The day of the surgery, we appear unusually brave and calm. We get up early, have a healthy breakfast, and wear a great outfit. We smile, crack jokes with the surgeon, and spew forth a number of positive affirmations that are intended to inspire our child but instead expose us for the massive geek that we are. At this stage, we are surrounded by friends and family, either physically or via social media, and although we are nervous we know in our heart that everything is going to be just fine.

Shock — This occurs anywhere from 12 to 24 hours after surgery and coincides with the wearing off of anesthesia and/or spinal blocks as well as any fantasies we had about this going smoothly. This is when we realize that someone has physically cut into our child’s body WITH A SHARP KNIFE and now she is screaming like an infant with unmedicated reflux. We can’t believe how much pain she is in, and what the hell are we supposed to do when she has to go to the bathroom?

Confusion — This is when complications arise. Everything is a mess, and we can’t process anything anyone is saying to us, let alone a Harvard educated doctor with all of his big words and medical terminology. We haven’t showered in days, can’t find our makeup bag, feel nauseous, have a headache, hit a parked car, and only want yoga pants.

Doubt — At this stage, we become irrational and begin to suspect that all the diplomas hanging in our surgeon’s office are fake and he is really just a quack who has messed up our child for life. Also, our family members have all gone home and everyone on social media is now talking about Barbara Walters’ asinine choice for Most Fascinating Person of the Year.

Rage — We hit our breaking point and start demanding answers from any medical professional within a mile radius. We channel Glenn Close from Fatal Attraction and refuse to be ignored. If our child is still in the hospital, we start getting loud and obnoxious. Sometimes we go the other way and feign friendship with one of the nurses in an effort to find out what is really going on with our kid. If our kid is recovering at home, we relentlessly call the doctor’s office, informing the receptionist that if she puts us through to voicemail one more time things are going to get really ugly.

Fear — Shit is getting real now. We stand by helpless as our child undergoes more tests and faces the possibility of another surgery. We ask friends and family to start praying for the fever to go down, the pain to subside, or the complications to stop. We start carrying around religious artifacts and silently make deals with the man upstairs. We finally know what it’s like to suffer and vow never to take anything for granted ever again.

Relief — Finally, our child turns the corner. We weep with relief and allow ourselves the pleasure of eating once again. Our kindness returns and we feel nothing but gratitude toward the amazing doctor who operated on our child, and maybe we should get him a nice gift?

Boredom — Yes, our child has turned the corner but this block sucks too. And it’s soooooooooo loooooooooooong.

Joy — Tests are clear, the x-rays look great and our child’s doctor is very pleased with her progress. The nightmare is over, and we are stronger for having survived. This is when we allow ourselves the pleasure of alcohol–and lots of it.

Horror — The final stage is physical therapy–a special kind of hell.

How to send a card in 37 easy steps

My friend lost her aunt to lung cancer a few weeks ago, and I wanted to send a card to let her and her family know how sorry I was.

Most people I know can send a card without much trouble, but for me, sending a card is like sending a man to the moon. I’d like to blame it on the fact that I have three kids who take a lot of my time and attention away from such a task, but I have always found sending a card to be extremely challenging, even before I had kids.

Here are the steps I go through whenever I have to send a card:

1. Realize that I am going to have to buy a card because someone is having a birthday, is sick, going through something difficult or has died.

2. Forget to buy it at the store at least 2 or 3 times.

3. Buy the card.

4. Realize we are out of stamps and a trip to the post office is necessary.

5. Forget to go to the post office at least 2 or 3 times.

6. Go to the post office. It is closed.

7. Return to the post office when it is opened.

8. Realize in the case of a relative’s birthday that the kids are going to have to sign the card individually in their own handwriting.

9. Get one kid to sign the card.

10. Get the next kid to sign the card.

11. Get the last kid to sign the card.

12. Realize the address I have is out of date.

13. Forget to send an email for the new address at least 2 or 3 times.

14. Send the email requesting the new address.

15. Receive the new address.

16. Address the card.

17. Place the card on the table in the entryway.

18. Leave the card on the table in the entryway for several days.

19. Carry the card from the table in the entryway to the car.

20. Leave the card in the car for several days.

21. Completely lose the card in the car.

22. Find the card in the car.

23. Come to grips with the fact that the card is now in no condition to be sent.

24. Repeat steps 2, 3, 9-11, and 16-22

25. Put the card in the mailbox.

26. Promise to do better next time.

Goals for Today

The entire family is snowed in again. I need to focus. Here are my goals for today:

1. Don’t kill the kids.

2. Don’t kill my husband.

3. Make sure my husband doesn’t kill the kids.

4. Make sure the kids don’t kill each other.

5. Make sure the dog doesn’t kill the kids.

6. Don’t be killed.

7. Limit sugar.

8. Limit video games.

9. Don’t eat more than my head at any one sitting.

10. Wait until 5pm to start drinking.

Wish me luck!

My Brush with Galactosemia

The birth of my first child in 2003 was terribly traumatizing for me. I was completely unprepared for all the blood, the length of time it takes a vagina to open wide enough for a baby to pass through, and the word galactosemia.

I heard the word for the first time ten days after my daughter was born. A doctor I didn’t know called to tell me that a test from the hospital came back abnormal and I was to get another test as quickly as possible. She also told me I could be slowly poisoning my new baby with my breastmilk and to switch to soy formula immediately. Like within the hour.

As you can imagine, I was beside myself. I reached out for help from my midwife, my pediatrician, and my friends, many of whom were also new mothers and who had, I hoped, gotten the same scary phone call that later turned out to be nothing. My midwife and pediatrician sided with the doctor and told me to rent a breast pump until we could get things straightened out. None of my friends had ever gotten a similar phone call and none had ever heard of galactosemia. They did reassure me, though, that their cousin had a friend who had a baby with lactose intolerance and was doing fine.

Of course, lactose intolerance and galactosemia are not the same thing. Galactosemia is a rare metabolic disease characterized by the body’s inability to digest galactose, a sugar found in human and animal milk. The sugar builds up and becomes toxic in the blood, causing kidney damage, seizures, and death. If you identify galactosemia early enough, your baby will likely live but with serious complications like mental retardation, developmental delays, and infertility in girls. In fact, galactosemia is so devastating that almost all newborns in the United States are screened for it at birth, along with some other, equally horrifying diseases such as phenylketonuria (PKU) and congenital hypothyroidism.

In my gut, I knew my baby didn’t have galactosemia, but I had to do the right thing and switch my daughter cold turkey to soy formula and pray that after 24 hours or so I could go back to breastfeeding and everything would be right with the world again. I took my brand new baby out in the bitter cold and snow of February to the hospital where there are all of these people and all of these germs and got her heel pricked by a needle for a second time, and I cried right along with her.

When the 48-hour marked passed with no word from the hospital and the breast pump I rented from the corner pharmacy failed, I had a nice little meltdown on my living room floor. I was so angry that this was happening to us. Simultaneously, I felt guilty because there are parents out there who live with galactosemia or worse things like Down Syndrome every day, and they actually feel blessed! Here I was just borrowing galactosemia and I felt like the world was ending.

The hospital wound up losing the results of the second test, so we had to get the baby’s heel pricked a third time. While we were waiting for the results of the third test, the hospital found the second test which was also abnormal. That was when I started to feel pure unadulterated panic. I prayed like a child, and I promised myself that I was going to make eradicating galactosemia my life’s mission if it turned out my daughter didn’t have it.

The results of the third test came back closer to normal but the doctors still weren’t comfortable, so they sent us to the only pediatric metabolic geneticist in New Jersey where our precious baby, after having been pricked in the heel three f**king times already, now had to have blood drawn from a teeny tiny vein in her arm. My husband and I also had to have blood drawn.

We arrived at the geneticist’s office accompanied by every relative from both sides of our family. There were like 24 of us sitting in the waiting room. We all had print outs from the Internet, we all had questions, and we were all prepared to give up milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for the rest of our lives should this new member of our family not ever be able to know how delicious they are.

We got through the visit with the geneticist, and then we were sent home for some more waiting. Every time the phone rang, my stomach would lurch. We were still getting cards and presents delivered every day, but there was little joy. Anxiety, fear and guilt reigned in those early weeks, and I felt robbed.

Finally, five weeks after the first phone call, we got the news we prayed for. Our daughter did not have galactosemia–she only carries the gene, which explained why the test results were wonky. My husband carries the gene as well, but I don’t, and so we opened our front door and kicked galactosemia out on its ass forever where it belongs.

My baby sadly never breastfed again, but I made up for it with my second child who had a milk protein allergy completely unrelated to galactosemia and breastfed until he was almost two, and my last who breastfed another 12 months. I can now say without any qualms at all that breastfeeding is the worst thing in the whole world and I don’t know why anyone does it (not really).

My daughter is turning 12 on February 1 and I never did make eradicating galactosemia my life’s mission, but I have donated several times to the Parents of Galactosemic Children, Inc., which has since been renamed the Galactosemia Foundation. They provide critical support to new families dealing with the heartbreaking challenges of galactosemia and network with professionals to inspire treatment and advanced research. I will be donating again this February 1. I hope you will consider donating, too. Here is a link.

My First Bolognese

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I am so honored to be part of the monthly link up party Our Growing Edge, which was created by Genie De Wit at Bunny Eats Design to connect bloggers and inspire us to try new things. This month the event is hosted by food blogger Francesca at Fearless Kitchen. Hope you enjoy!

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I have a friend named Josephine who is eight feet tall and weighs 100 pounds. She is beautiful. The first thing you notice about her is her hair. It is long and lush and reminds me of a warm, safe place where as a child I’d hide. It’s also super curly but never has any frizz. It’s the hair I’ve always wanted but can’t have no matter how many products, specialized cuts or styling techniques I try.

The second thing you notice about her is how nice and sweet she is, and how totally unfazed she is by motherhood. I wish I could be half as carefree with my children as she seems.

Josephine is also 100% Italian. She speaks fluent Italian and vacations in Italy every year. To compare, I am part Italian, can say “parmigiano reggiano” with a killer Italian accent, and really enjoyed our recent getaway to Myrtle Beach.

Josephine’s husband, Loreto, is also 100% Italian and serves on our town’s Little League board along with my husband, who does not have any Italian blood whatsoever. Loreto recently invited all of the board members to his home for a meeting and “traditional Sunday gravy” made by his wife.

My husband was pretty psyched when he got the email, but that was nothing once he started eating. He began texting me.

“OMG the Sunday gravy is amazing :)”

Now, I’d like to point out that over the course of our 13 year marriage, I can count the number of times I have served my husband jarred tomato sauce on one hand. Because I am part Italian, I know how important it is to make homemade sauce, and years ago I was lucky enough to secure the recipe of Grandma Marionni, my friend’s Italian grandmother-in-law, and have made it so many times I now have it memorized. I have used it over and over again in countless lasagnas, baked zitis, and chicken parms. My husband is not deprived of authentic Italian cooking at all, so I guess I was a little surprised he was so impressed by Josephine’s gravy. But, whatever, I was just glad I didn’t have to cook for him that night, and also — how nice was it of her to cook for the entire Little League board? And right after the holidays???

Moments later, my husband sent me another text:

“Meatballs.”

Oh brother. Years ago, in a move to make us healthier, I started making meatballs from ground turkey. They are awesome, but my husband doesn’t agree. In his world, meatballs should be made of meat. From this one word text, it was clear to me that Josephine’s meatballs weren’t made of turkey.

Here were his other texts, one after another:

“Montepulciano wine.”

“Fresh grated pecorino cheese.”

“The gravy is really thick.”

“Josephine made it.”

Good grief. Ok, that does it. Right then and there, I resolved to make my non-Italian husband a real Sunday gravy with real meatballs. I consulted my Sopranos Family Cookbook and learned that I would have to obtain a meaty pork neck bone and run a can of peeled tomatoes through a food mill. Forget it.

My second idea was to make an authentic bolognese. I have never made one before. I mean, sometimes I will quickly cook a pound of ground turkey and add it to Grandma Marionni’s sauce right before the pasta is done and pretend it’s bolognese, but I know it’s not. A true bolognese is something I’ve always wanted to make, but never had a reason. Until now.

I contacted Grandma Marionni’s granddaughter-in-law for advice and she told me that Lidia Bastianich’s recipe was the best and that I was to not, under any circumstances, make the one from Giada.

Lidia’s recipe, entitled “Sugo alla Bolognese,” has 13 ingredients and takes three hours, but at least I don’t have to see or touch a pig’s meaty neck bone. I was pumped, so I purchased my ingredients and got to work:

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Step One: Saute the vegetables in olive oil.

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Step Two: Add beef and pork.

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Step Three: Add wine.

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Step Four: Add tomatoes and bay leaves.

IMG_3762Step Five: Cook for three hours, adding water every now and then so that the meat is always covered.

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Step Six: Mangia!

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Step Seven: Receive just as many compliments from my husband as Josephine, including my favorite, “This is restaurant quality.” I personally felt it needed more salt (Lidia doesn’t give exact amounts of salt; she says to salt things “lightly,” but her idea of “lightly” and my idea of “lightly” are, I think, two different things). Nevertheless, my husband didn’t seem to mind. I think he just loves to eat. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.