You'll like this one.
Fake relatives are not real. Or, they are as real as the three college professors one of my relatives claimed to have (which I would have shared) as well as the property as far as the eye could see back in the old country. But, this fake relative ought to at least make you smile.
Meatballs. We're talking the latest food craze. Remember Cajun food? Cupcakes? Barbecue? Fads, all, that have gone in and out of fashion for the masses. Well, meatballs appear to be next on the list and cupcakes aren't even dead yet. There are cronuts, but I'm not even sure what they are, croissant doughnuts or something interestingly caloric, perhaps.
Meatballs. Think rounded orbs of any kind of meat, ranging from reindeer to pig and beyond. Sauced with red tomatoes or covered in sour cream, globs of chopped meat are now all the rage.
And one of my relatives, may he rest in peace, would have been the bellwether of the movement, had his life not been regrettably interrupted.
So, way back in perhaps the turn of the century, right here in the US, one of my ancestors arrived from Europe with a satchel containing a pair of pants, a better pair of home made shoes, one white shirt with a turned collar and one additional pair of undergarments. He wore his ragged coat over his other, even more raggedy suit jacket, his best shirt, his longjohns and darned socks. Of course he had a hat, and it was a wondrous hat. Even though it was dusty with dirt from the old country, the hat with its grosgrain ribbon around the crown was very special for, inside the hat was stuffed a hand written recipe for the most delicious meatballs every produced on this planet.
Now, no one ever saw this recipe, but my antecedent intended to insinuate himself into a restaurant and somehow convince the owner to allow him to produce meatballs and put them on the menu. The whole village back home had paid for his passage to the New World. They knew he and the meatballs would be a gigantic hit in America and with the money he'd surely make from selling these fantastic globes, he could eventually afford to pay for passage for some of the other poor young men to come to America to seek their fortune. Perhaps they all had a recipe sewn into their hats--I don't know.
This relative, whose name wasn't even spelled right by the clerks at Ellis Island, did make it past the restrictions for immigrants. He didn't have any known diseases, he wasn't cross-eyed, he appeared to be in the pinnacle of health and he had a paper in his hand that showed that someone was going to come for him and give him a job in America.
Unfortunately, that never happened.
Did I ever mention that my family on both sides, is noted not only for their abilities in the kitchen, but also for their notorious bad luck?
My poor, sweet relative walked down the gangplank from Ellis Island, hat firmly on his head, when a gust of unfriendly wind wafted the hat right off his head and blew it into the murky water of the Hudson river. My long ago great great, realizing that his key to success in the New Land went into the Hudson with it. According to witnesses, the young man ran to the railing surrounding the port of entry and dove into the water after his hat.
Just as another boatload of refugees or immigrants pulled into the dock.
The poor man, the man who was to do so much and succeed so quickly in his new country, met his end as part of the bulkhead surrounding the only bit of America he was ever to see.
I can't enjoy spaghetti without thinking of the poor guy. He took our fortune with him to his watery grave. May he rest in (poor) peace.