Back in Rhode Island. Had to cancel planned visit to Arthur Avenue, the great Italian food destination in the Belmont neighborhood of The Bronx. HG’s sleep depriving cough necessitated a trip to the urgent care facility in Barrington. Bad news. HG’s pneumonia has recurred. Initial anti-biotic program didn’t work. New regimen promises a swift end to the pneumonia. However, more bad news. No alcohol for HG. A teetotal Christmas, alas. Good news. Beautiful granddaughter Sofia R. arrived home safely from France. The event put Pip, the excellent Family R. dog, into a state of ecstasy. The humans shared in the delight. The best news: Home cooking by HG/BSK daughter Lesley R.. Polenta with shrimp (clams for crustacean allergic BSK), chorizo, onions, tomatoes. Pure comfort. Some excellent cheese and grapes. HG finished with Pandoro (a yeasty Italian cake like Panettone but without the candied fruit). Herb tea. An HG evening without vodka, wine and grappa. Did HG miss these devil’s brews? A bit. But, water accompanied by happy family faces made the evening a joy.
The next day, Sunday, HG was feeling good after a night of sleep undisturbed by coughing. HG breakfasted on Pandoro (golden bread) and cups of cafe latte. Professore Massimo R., authority on every aspect of Italian culture, explained that the word “Panettone” stems from the Italian “Tony’s bread.” It seems Tony, a Milanese baker, had to prepare a sweetish bread for some distinguished personages. Little time. Culinary emergency. Tony mixed some candied fruit in the bread. Legendary Panettone was born. Massimo commented on the glut of feel good Christmas TV shows and movies. The Professore said these are called “Cinepanettone”, kitsch you watch while eating Panettone. Professore Massimo’s friend and colleague, the distinguished University of Bologna academic, Giacomo Manzoli, has written a book on the subject appropriately titled “Cinepanettone”. HG continued to munch on Pandoro and tea as HG indulged in the guilty pleasure of watching pro football on TV. As a Rhode Island visitor, HG had to watch the Patriots cruise. HG gave up on HG’s boyhood favorite, the Giants, when they fell behind the Panthers and Cam Newton by a 35-7 score. Astonishingly, Manning, Beckham and the Giants made a gallant, exciting comeback before losing in the final minute. Much fun. HG will now watch the Denver-Pittsburgh game in order to hone dinner appetite. Refrigerator contains chilled nonalcoholic beer (oy vey!!) so the teetotaler will not be thirsty.