You Had Me At Lasagna!

My mother-in-law to-be Connie, is the reason the term old-school had to be coined. Native Italian and the embodiment of that deep connection to food that Italians are known for, she understands better than anyone that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. She’s determined to do all she can to keep Guy and I together and what she can do is make food so fresh and delicious that I’ll stick around just for another meal!

This year, like each year since Guy and I met, we spent Christmas Day at Connie’s house for a grand feast. Connie wakes up at 4 AM to get to work on her project of the day: feeding her personal “Top 20”.

It’s a good list to be on!

Connie doesn’t waste time with the prescribed when it comes to Christmas dinner! There’s no turkey, ham or stuffing on her table. There’s no mashed potatoes and definitely no gingerbread!

But what there is, is lasagna!

Which starts at 4 AM when this kitchen-puissant reaches for the flour, salt, eggs and water!

This is not your mother’s lasagna and it starts with fresh pasta!

But the real glory of Connie’s lasagna comes from the sauce. Every tomato used to make the sauce was grown, cooked and jarred on her own property. As were most of the seasonings. A walk through their garden any summer will tell you what the sauce will taste and smell like at Christmas.

At dinner, I like to sit near my future sister-in-law. She’s the most generous with her efforts to translate. And if you want to follow along with the conversations at the “adult table”, you’d better be speaking Italian!

I’m told it’s not even REAL Italian they’re speaking. Coming from the tiny village of San Mango Su Colore, they all speak a dialect of Italian which Is unique to that village and region. Italian or dialect, I don’t understand any of it and so I need a fast translator. Guy’s father often tells stories from youth that are hysterical! In English or Italian, you don’t want to miss them.

Hysterical laughter-at his often tragic youth.

But despite the stories of li