Phil (the better half) is from Melrose Park, Illinois, which is 20 minutes from Chicago. He's half Italian, half Polish (hold the jokes.) Melrose Park is a small, mostly Italian suburb of Chi Town, where you can drive down any street with a local, and they will point out a house where some mobster grew up. There's Joey Aiuppia's house, he finally got pinched for skimming from a casino. Or, Anthony Arcardo lived there, he was the "BIG BOSS." So, when we go back to see the family, we're always passed from Italian aunt and uncle to cousins, ect, "come for dinnah, we'll throw togetha a little sumpthin." Which means fabulous traditional pasta, gravy, hot and mild sausage, peppers and onions, eggplant, homemade this, homemade that, some huge selection of desserts and lots of brand x wine and coffee. Sleep it off, and do it again tomorrow at another relatives house. ANYHOO, can't wait to go to the FIRST Italian Festival at the Fairgrounds this weekend. Not only will there be GREAT Italian food from all over the county, (which I will be comparing to the "real thing") a real live Dean Martin impersonator, (I can't resist impersonators) funny chefs, a strolling accordion player, dancing and bocci ball. Too fun. It will be like a trip Chicago, without the lost luggage and storm delays! Yay!
By the way, last time I was in Melrose I found out what WOP means (a derogatory word for Italian American) In the Ellis Island immigration days, it meant With Out Papers. Tee hee.