Sunday, July 22, 2007

Mojito Chicken, Nonno, and His Steak

Today I thought I would begin with pictures of a very special man: Chris' Nonno (grandpa). His name is Irio. He lives with Chris' parents, in his own little "apartment" in the downstairs area, with his own kitchen. He is adorable. Enjoy him:

My husband's Nonno (though I call him that, too) is almost 88 years old, and he still makes seasoning mix for us, fresh bread, and baccalĂ  (which I believe is the only seafood he eats). He waters all the extensive landscaping at the house, walks every day, mows the lawn, rakes leaves, shovels snow... And probably a ton else. He doesn't have to do any of that, of course. In fact, Chris' parents have been totally unsuccessful in stopping him. He is incredibly stubborn, and just as cute and sweet at the same time with a light and merry sense of humor. I see him in my husband all the time, especially in his little periods of inflexibility about what I would consider "small things," like the schedule of events that you might have on a day off. On the days when most people would plan nothing and "go with the flow" (or even stay in their pajamas all day), Nonno wants to know, exactly what time is dinner? And Chris is grousing because we may be five minutes late to it. And you can't get very annoyed because, well, they're both just so dang cute.

Unlike Chris, Nonno is a picky eater. I'm not just saying that because on my side of the family, we cram things in our mouth first, and ask about edibility later. There is a pretty narrow range of things he will eat. When we grill out, he wants steak. Just steak. Keep away from him with the fish or the chicken (here you can see his steak in the back.)

And he always has some kind of potato or pasta, bread with dinner, and definitely white wine. And if you're not questioning the validity of all that you knew about healthy eating by now, you should be.

God bless you, Nonno. We love you, see you soon!

**As a side note, the chicken we grilled here on Father's Day was a concoction of some chicken breasts that I marinated in margarita mix (tequila included), coarse salt, pepper, olive oil, and mint for a sort of "Mojito Chicken." It was very good, as was the salmon that Wilma seasoned, and we ate with fresh homemade pesto sauce (with basil from her garden) and pasta. And Nonno's steak looked pretty good, too...


  1. Wow. Just wow! Yummy! What's in the spice mix he makes for you??? I'm looking for a new seasoning!

  2. He takes fresh rosemary, sage, red pepper flakes and garlic cloves and minces them all very, very fine with a mezza luna, or curved two-handled blade. I think it might be done with a food processor, but I haven't tried it yet... Then he packs it into little tubs, like old margarine or sour cream tubs. You can freeze it, and when you need some, you just flake it onto fish or chicken or whatever with a fork. It's great on roasted potatoes, too! And one little tub lasts forever.

  3. I love him.

    p.s. you need to audition for the next food network star.

    love you