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Ask Uncle Dom

Sunday
Mar032013

Dear Uncle Dom,

Every morning it’s the same thing. I wake up at 5:00 a.m. make coffee, put the news on T.V. take a shower, get dressed and out the door for work. For thirty years Dom. Thirty years same routine. Now all of a sudden the Mrs. wants me to get on this Tread Mill my kids bought me last Christmas. She said I should do it for half an hour before I leave for work. That it’s good for me. Is she kidding me or what? I got no time for this. I know my wife is only looking out for me but come on. She already made me give up smoking cigars for Christ sakes. I believe that when it`s your time to go, it`s your time to go. No tread mill is going to keep the big guy from upstairs from ringing your bell. Am I right or wrong?

Sweet Lou from Boston

Dear Sweet Lou,

Your wife is 110% correct on this one pal. Even without seeing you (and please don’t send me any pictures) you probably look like you have had one too many loafs of bread in your day.  Am I close Sweet Lou?   Now, get your fat behind off the couch and get on that Tread Mill. If you don’t like the Tread Mill, walk with your bride around the block a few times a week. Do something to stay in shape. By the way, your kids got the Tread Mill for you because they want to see their father grow old and stay healthy. Oh, and they love you. Do it for them. And if you have grandchildren Lou, I really don’t understand why we are even having this conversation. Do it Lou, do it before you’re not getting up at 5:00 in the morning anymore or for that matter not getting up anymore period.

Sunday
Jan062013

Uncle Dom, I'm writing to seek advice. My Italian born mother insists on visiting my father's grave every Christmas morning. He passed away when I was just a baby, so I never had the chance to really know him. Ever since I can remember, I was at the cemetery on Christmas morning when other kids were opening up their presents. This year I was invited to a friend`s house and I broke the tradition. Now she's terribly upset and refuses to speak to me. How can I make her change her mind?

Anna from San Diego

Dear Anna,

It`s not a question of changing her mind. It's your mind that needs to change. You are not the same little girl holding your mother`s hand as she lays flowers over her husband`s grave. Time has moved on. Your mother has not. You are a grown woman. She may have lost sight of that fact in her grief. Perhaps it takes her back to when your father was still with both of you. From what you wrote, it appears she has never gotten over his passing. And she may never be able to. Each of us deals with the death of a loved one differently. But you should not allow her to guilt you into her inability to move on with your life. Which is probably what your father would want both of you to do. What needs to be done is to have someone speak to Mamma and try to make her understand. Maybe you, maybe a close relative. I know it won`t be easy, but nothing important in life is.

Saturday
Dec292012

Dear Uncle Dom,

I'm writing to you because my sister in law, who is always invited to our Feast of Seven Fishes, keeps bringing meat lasagna. Not to be rude, I've served her lasagna every year and ruined the tradition. I have told her many times that the tradition is to eat fish, and this year I forwarded her the article published on Fonderia USA hoping to give her a clear message. However, she brought lasagna. What would you do?

Antoinette from Baltimore

Dear Antoinette,

If what you say is true, this woman needs to be taken aside and spoken to, but not by you. Correct me if I am wrong: you probably mentioned this to your husband once or twice already. It’s time for him to step up and talk with his sister. He needs to explain that her lasagna doesn’t belong at his Christmas Eve dinner. If your husband can`t or won`t do it then I am afraid it`s up to you to take matters into your own hands. If next year she shows up with the lasagna, politely take the tray from her hands and put it in the freezer. If she asks why you put it into the freezer, tell her you will give her a choice: it’s either the freezer or the garbage pail. Trust me, she will get the message. Remember, however, if you do this you may end up not talking to her again, but you won`t have to deal with her lasagna next Christmas Eve.

Tuesday
Dec182012

Dear Uncle Dom,
I am an Italian born woman married to an Italian American man. For the last 2 years, my mother in law has stopped cooking. I think it’s because I am too much of a purist when it comes to food, especially Italian food. When we first got married, she would cook wonderful Sunday meals for the whole family. And I always enjoyed eating whatever she made. Unfortunately, as time went on, and I would question her use of clams out of a can or blended olive oils, she may have gotten insulted. Obviously our two cooking styles are different. How can I convince her that I still really enjoy her cooking?
Anna from Bay Ridge

Anna,

 You think she may have gotten insulted? Anna, let me tell you something: dealing with in laws is always delicate. No matter how close you think you are with them, there is always an unspoken tension. A tension that in some families just waits for the right occasion (wedding, funeral or kids birthday party) to explode, or anyplace where there is an audience so they can show what gavones they actually are. Sorry Anna, back to your question: in this case you may be reading too much into it. Maybe it’s just her way of letting go of her son by letting you run the kitchen your way. That’s no easy task for most mothers to do. At least now you recognize what’s going on with her. Respect her for what she likes to cook and keep your mouth shut. Maybe, just maybe, she will leave you alone to run your family. Trust me, that is a small price to pay. So next time you’re going to make Sunday dinner for the family, invite Mamma to go food shopping with you. You might be surprised what the old lady knows about not only cooking, but life.

Monday
Sep242012

Dear Dom,
my niece is visiting from out of town. She is a very nice young lady, but I was more than a little surprised - I should say shocked - last Saturday night when she told my husband and me that she was going out with her friends for the night. She was wearing a short skin tight shirt, black high heels and a red tight dress. I know kids today are a  little wilder than when we grew up but my God! this was too much! I feel that I should call and tell my sister about her daughter. What do you think?
Mary from the Bronx.

 
Dear Mary,
this is a tough one. On the one hand you may be getting yourself in the middle of something you could really live without, and on the other she is your niece and I am sure your concerns are real. My advice, keep your mouth shut. Let your sister deal with her. I am sure your sister would love to hear from you that her daughter looks like a slut. I know you wouldn’t say that. But that’s what your sister will hear.
Monday
Sep242012

Dear Uncle Dom,
last Sunday I paid a visit to my sister`s house. She hasn’t been feeling well so I thought I would stop by and say hello. On the way over, I picked up a dozen bagels, cream cheese and a dozen eggs. I was going to surprise her and make breakfast for everyone. After a few minutes I could see she was in no shape for a visit. My wife told me we should leave, so we did. Here`s the thing Dom: my brother in law didn’t even offer me to take back the food I brought. Not even one bagel. Not that I would have taken any back, it's just the idea that they didn’t offer. My wife said I should drop it but it's stuff like this that makes me nuts. Plus, I didn’t have breakfast. Am I wrong for feeling upset over this?
Johnny from Old Bridge NJ
.
Dear Johnny,
You cheap petty bastard. No, they don’t have to offer you a bagel, a cup of coffee or even a cookie. What part of your-sister-is-sick you don’t get?  Have a little compassion and think before you act like a mook or you won`t have a sister.
Monday
Sep242012

Dear Uncle Dom,
like most families, mine, well let`s just say we don’t always get along. I come from a family of 2 brothers and 3 sisters. There`s always something for my wife or my sisters or my stupid brother in law to argue about. Most of the time the arguments end when someone says, 'enough already'.  Needless to say none of us are on speaking terms with each other all the time. 
I know I am asking for a lot, but how can I help make all of us get along? My dream is to have a big family Christmas Eve's dinner all together this year, like when we were kids. What do you think, should I go for it?
Frank from Commack
.
Dear Frank,
I think you should stop dreaming and wake up. You and your siblings are not 6 years old anymore. Sure it would be great to turn the clock back to 1964, but come on, is that what this is all about? Very few families are able to keep everyone at the table as we get older. It`s not good or bad. It just is. The kids grow up and we grow up alone with them. And that’s O.K. Everyone has to decide who they want to spend time with. You can`t make that happen for other people, even your brothers and sisters. The only thing you can manage is your own expectations. So stop hoping and wishing for yesterday and just enjoy today and maybe tomorrow before it’s even too late for that.