If you have never spent New Year’s Eve with my father’s family then you have missed out. It always was a bit more subdued than all of the food of Christmas Eve, but just as much fun. The celebrating always rotated at different homes. All of my Great Aunts and Uncles along with the rest of the family would wear funny party hats with sparkles on them. My mom would usually buy noise makers and horns and we would just be silly for a night. Sometimes we spent it at my Aunt Marge and Uncle Jimmy’s (my father’s aunt and her husband) home, sometimes it was at my parents; I think we went to my Aunt Marie’s home (my father’s sister) once too. In my younger years - dare I tell…it was not uncommon for my sister and I perform a show! Yes, I admitted it – picture two little girls dancing around to David Lee Roth, Prince, or Madonna in the mid 80’s!!! With costume changes, oh yes! And as my Uncle Tony exclaimed on one New Year’s Eve that he and my Aunt Mary (another one of my father’s Aunts and her husband) came to at my parent’s home, ”When you come to Dominick and Rita’s home you get dinner and a show!” It was a lot of fun and many memories of these gatherings make me smile.
The food of the night was usually an antipasto along with a dip or two. Dinner was simple. Usually pasta of some kind, a vegetable or two, meat (usually chicken or beef), and then there were cakes and pastries for dessert. Like I said it was nothing extravagant. But if you were to spend the evening at my Aunt Fran and Uncle Frank’s home (I have mentioned them before) you always have Sausage to eat right after you counted down and exclaimed “Happy New Year!” My Sweet Dear Uncle Frank would say that the first thing you should eat in the New Year represented what kind of year you were about to have. He felt that eating a fatty and rich piece of meat was right on target. He would be standing outside in the freezing temperature with his son, my cousin David, cookng sausage on a charcoal grill. (According to my Uncle Frank, the charcoal grill is the way sausage tastes the best!) I can remember us standing in their living room and counting down to the New Year, and in would come my Uncle Frank with his eye glasses fogged over, a party hat on with his jacket & scarf and a platter of grilled sausage for us all to eat. It was delicious! I do not know many others who would stand outside in 30 degrees or less grilling sausage for their family, only my Uncle Frank.
Brian and I feel that we should be keeping my Uncle Frank’s tradition. So New Year’s Day we will be having Sausage just lke my Uncle Frank. Although, I do not own a charcoal grill; I do not think my Uncle would mind. It is time for Sausage, Potatoes, Peppers and Onions in a light tomato sauce. This is a dish similar to one my mom made often, it is rich and flavorful and comforting. It may not be completely seasonal either, but I think that is what we need for 2012. Lots of flavor, lots of color,a bit of spiciness, and the richness of love from family. Happy New Year everyone!