November 27, 2013

"Cucina Della Nonna" in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Participants and organizers pose for a photo
Photos by New York Scugnizzo

By Giovanni di Napoli

On Sunday (Nov. 24th) I had the great pleasure of attending Cucina della Nonna ("Grandma's Kitchen"), the first of hopefully many celebrations of Neapolitan food, family, and culture sponsored by the Region of Campania (Regione Campania). The event included participants from several mutual aid societies originating from Campania — specifically the towns of Sacco, Teggiano, Sassano and Quaglietta — located in the provinces of Salerno and Avellino respectively. 

I showed up to the event at the San Cono Society headquarters in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and watched masterful women demonstrate how they prepare their families’ gastronomic specialties. It was great to see these cooks get their children and grandchild involved with the cooking and preparation. The intoxicating aromas immediately brought me back to my childhood, reminding me of my grandmother's kitchen and the many wonderful meals we shared together as a family. 

The food was incredible! Cavatieddi rianisi, Savuzicchia cu' pipajuoli, Oacciarieddi cu' li fasuli, Trippa cu' patanj, Carna ri puorcu cunzata, Rava juoli cu senzifero, Cunigliu mbuttunatu, and Fusiddi cu sugu ri cunigliu were just some of the traditional dishes we enjoyed. Roasted chestnuts and a cheese course followed the tasty entrees. And, at the end, we indulged our sweet tooth with an assortment of delectable homemade desserts.

I am grateful that the members of the societies put on the event, and I’d like to give a special thanks to the ladies who worked so hard preparing and cooking all the delicious food. It was an unforgettable experience!
Father Vincent says a few words before saying grace
(Above and below) The nonnas demonstrate some of their time-honored culinary techniques, handed down over several generations 
(Above and below) Like all successful events, a great deal of planning
and hard work took place behind the scenes
(Above and below) A feast fit for a king! 
(Above and below) The ladies put the finishing touches on the platters 
before serving an army of hungry guests 
(Above and below) Some of the delicious sweets we had for dessert 
The accordionist kept the party rolling,
playing our favorite waltzes, tangos and tarantellas
(Above and below) Revelers trip the light fantastic
Placards give brief descriptions of the four towns—Sacco, Quaglietta, Teggiano and Sassano—represented at the dinner