filicudes of fivedock ~ a saga in 3 parts ~ chapt 1
Elio Fragganzi and his older cousin Gennaro by his wife Alice shared the business of a small restaurant. A modest concern with no carpet and good coffee. Thirty covers. Twenty take-away pizzas every week night, fifty on Saturday.
50:50 cash and card – acceptable.
Elio’s share was the responsibility of managing the cooking, the kitchen staff, the waiters, the cleaners, the supplies, the reservations and the bookkeeping. Gennaro’s was the cash banking, his personal jewellery, his silver Aston Martin, three mastiffs and a third wife Adriana. Adriana was from Lombardia. The restaurant was Calabrian, an impossible match. So naturally she was never a happy eater at the family table but that is of no consequence to the unfolding of events as you will see.
The cooks were all aunts. The widow Rosa, Aida, Gabriella the virgin and Clara. Gabriella was the youngest and therefore stood by the sink. Rosa supervised the food preparations and her station was of course by the servery-hatch. Her eldest daughter Maria was once unhappily married to Gennaro so every day Rosa watched him from there as a kookaburra in a tree does a stump that hides a snake.
Rosa also made several calabrian signature dishes, her specialty was Spaghetti Alle Vongole. $15 for the entree, $25 the main, all clams designated vongole veraci.
A world champion prize fighter once ate lunch there with his many friends and after he had finished his spaghetti bolognaise he left the table and walked into the kitchen without so much as a knock on the door.
‘ Which one of you ladies made the bolognaise pasta? ‘ He had asked this in a voice made raspy by many blows to his throat. He was holding an empty plate in his hand and he looked from aunt to aunt, from eye to eye.
He was a flatnosed man with big knotted hands and fresh black stitching that threaded above one of his dark eyes. The ladies all paused in their duties a moment. Rosa spoke first. ‘ What? Who made what?’ She was now five years in black.
The boxer gazed at her, not unkindly. ‘ This!’ he said, thrusting the plate forward,’ who made this pasta? ‘ Rosa walked over, she looked up at him, down at the plate. Then she tossed her head and sniffed once. ‘ It is mine. ‘
The fighter laid the plate down on a bench and kissed her one big smack on her surprised lips.
For eleven years not even her husband Frank had done that to her and her hair still as black as crows’ feathers.
‘ Madre di tutte le divinità ‘ Aida rolled her eyes and blessed herself. Aida and men knew each other not since the day Vincentio ran away to catch some of the Thailand flesh rainbows.
Rosa did not smile until after the boxer had left and the others were back at their work. Only Gabriella the virgin saw it and Rosa alone knew why the girl suddenly giggled at her dishes.
Today there is a picture of this world champion on the wall of the restaurant and he has signed it ‘ Best wishes to Rosa and everyone, Mario.
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Now Gennaros’ three dogs were kept on his large property at Castle Hill. He had named them after his uncles Bruno, Avanti and Hercule. He liked the big dogs because they gave him respect and kept everything at the house very private. You know how these things are.
You see Gennaro once had a little trouble with the custom authorities in Marseilles from where he was considering immigrating to Australia because of a little difficulty he had had in Milan previously. Some of the family who had caused the little difficulty in Milan were now living in Maroubra, and one husband and his two sons in particular were untrustworthy. Their parentage was Slovak. The sons were members of an infamous local motorcycle gang. He worried on those nights when cars swept up to his gate and parked with their engines running and nobody got out.
….. continued here