This past Sunday, I had my first “Meat & Greet” of 2012 at Corrado’s Market in their newest location (which recently underwent a stunning renovation) in Fairfield on Route 46. The day was a huge success, and I am so grateful for all the people who came out. Sundays are the unofficial Italian-American day of the week, the day for meatballs and macaroni—of course. So it was only fitting that I was there on a Sunday morning. The event began at 10am, where I gave out complimentary samples of Johnny’s Meatballs In Sunday Gravy which are now available for sale in the frozen food aisle at all three of the Corrado’s stores (Fairfield, Clifton and Wayne).
When I was a kid on Sunday mornings, my grandmother used to give me a sample of her meatballs—nice and hot—out of the pan with a cup of coffee at 8am. What a breakfast! Duplicating that classic Sunday memory—something a lot of us paisans can relate to—is my goal with Johnny’s Meatballs. People came and gobbled them up and were super complimentary which was a great feeling. It was extra fitting that my good friend Frankie Antipasto stopped by and hung out. Frankie is a fellow food vendor like me, he has a stand at the Meadowlands Flea Market every Saturday and we also travel together at a lot of the Italian feasts throughout the summer. He is the capicola king, the provolone professore, the master of the antipasto platters! Nothing goes better with your meatballs and macaroni than a giant antipasto platter. Although he didn’t bring any dishes of his signature items, he helped me dish out some balls and interact with the hungry crowd.
My personal director Jessica of Jessica Marie Productions came and took lots of footage for the day. (Video coming soon!) Some facebook friends stopped by as well to show their support and it really meant a lot.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m the true cugine who keeps it old-school, and keeps it real. Life for me is all about food and family, and it doesn’t get more real when it comes to Corrado’s markets—these are the Italian-American superstores of New Jersey. Corrado’s is the main place I shop in for the highest quality, matched by the best deals around. I’m talking authentic specialties that bring customers from miles away. All three locations are superstores, but not Costco carbon copies—still neighborhood joints.
All my relatives have been shopping at Corrado’s for years—it’s where we always got our grapes for our homemade vino in their original Clifton store.
Fairfield’s store has a giant variety of cheese, a coldcut and fish section, aisles of produce with peppers, onions, salad, potatoes, and a meat department with unbelievable deals on steakhouse quality filet mignons, not to mention sausage, chopped meat, chicken, veal, and everything in between. You can get all kinds of things from your staples like eggs, milk, coffee, canned tomatoes and macaroni, to beautiful gift baskets. Plus, they have a bakery with a coffee bar, a pizza section with a very impressive oven and lots more—all at amazing savings. You can easily walk out holding ten full shopping bags and spend around $100. Try doing that at Shop-Rite or elsewhere!
This stuff is what it’s all about to me, a meal involves a lot of steps, but each one is equally important, and equally as enjoyable. It starts with shopping, and then prepping and cooking, followed by the arriving of your loved ones to share that meal and to share lots of stories—stories usually including recipes or other tales of food! At least, that’s how it was for me growing up the Italian-American style, and what I hope to continue on for my kids.
And as long as places like Corrado’s stick around, that will be easy.
Check out www.corradosmarket.comonline and visit their stores for all your needs. And be sure to pick up a six-pack of Johnny’s Meatballs in the freezer case!
Corrado’s Clifton (1578 Main Avenue)
Corrado’s Wayne (201 Berdan Avenue)
Corrado’s Fairfield (480 Rt. 46 East)
One last thing…
I’m excited to announce that last week’s blog about Italian-Americans on TV was picked for the i-italy online magazine and it’s up for publication in a new anthology to be put out by the Society For Cinema & Media Studies! I will also be discussing this topic with the UNICO president in an upcoming interview (to be filmed). I’m very passionate on this subject and a lot of my facebook friends are as well, considering there were dozens of shares. The one paragraph in the piece that a lot of people commented on was the final paragraph which I’ll reprint here:
The one thing I would like to say which I think both sides [the working class and the upper-elite Italians] should unanimously agree on is the horrendous depictions of Italian-Americans in Olive Garden (and similar chain “Italian” restaurant) commercials. Being in the food business and the entertainment business, I am offended by the actors involved in these ads with their overwhelmingly clear lack of any knowledge of Italian-Americana. The menu items those places try to pass off as “Italian” are completely made-up dishes which look as appetizing as a TV dinner. Their attempts to fool the majority of the country into thinking that visiting such eateries replicates some sort of Italian-American experience is laughable. I am all for protests on those ads as I think they cause much more damage than any of the antics seen on MTV.
The reason I am reiterating that paragraph is because it ties in to today’s blog and shows the opposite side of the Olive Garden which is Corrado’s. One of my friends commented that a great TV concept would be a cooking show featuring Italian-American comfort food classics done right, as opposed to the regional specialty Italian that is so often seen, which, a lot of the time seems pretentiously showcased in that it shuns the peasant dishes a lot of our families used to make and enjoy.
It’s again the “holier than thou” individuals who, instead of being able to acknowledge both types of food as true and delicious, make the high end cuisine seem superior to the classics. And that’s just misguided and unfortunate. There’s no reason we can’t learn about and see both being made, because any type of food can be made badly, it all depends on how it’s prepared—regardless of the ingredients—and of course if it’s made with the ingredient of love. So I propose a program where the cooking is done down in nonna’s basement, using herbs from the backyard garden and other local stuff which would really make for an old-school meal!