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  • One Man's Hot Dog is Another Man's Garbage
    Page 1 of 2

    by Flora Mitidiero Raehl

    My family enjoys getting together as much as possible – whether it's the Fourth of July, Christmas, someone's birthday, even a namesake day, we're all together en masse and somehow the conversation always seems to lead to what life was like when our grandparents first came to America. Both sets of my grandparents came from the same small town of Alessandria del Carretto in search of a better life for their families, without knowing anything about their new neighborhood, without speaking any English, without having a job ... but all these "withouts" didn't seem to deter them from making a life in Chicago, and the rest of us have benefited from their forward thinking, courage and hard work.

    So here we are, Sunday night, June 19, 2011, another successful Father's Day celebration has just ended. Today's menu was strictly all American in honor of my VERY American husband – hamburgers and hot dogs, which I'm sure distressed my father beyond belief. You see, my father has never eaten a hot dog in his entire life. How is that possible after living here for over 50 years? Well, many years before he came to America one of his relatives made the long trip to Chicago, stayed for a while but didn't like the lifestyle here and decided to go back to the old country.

    As my father retells the story, this relative told him that the food here was like eating garbage. One thing in particular was something called a hot dog. Apparently, someone tried to pass off a hot dog as the American version of Italian sausage so he was more than willing to give it a try hoping to conjure up memories of home. But as soon as he bit into it, he not only realized it tasted nothing like his beloved salsiccia but there was an extra ingredient in the hot dog that he never wanted to experience again – someone's finger! I'm still not sure if this is an accurate story or just a tall tale but that's the reason my father has never tasted a hot dog in his life! So even though the food was probably not what my dad was expecting on this Father's Day, because what is a Sunday without pasta – we all still managed to have a great day loudly cooking together, loudly catching up on the last week's events, loudly retelling stories of growing up. In case you hadn't noticed, there is a common theme to my family's get togethers – food and being loud! We jokingly admit that "…the louder you are the more right you must be!"

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    Article Published 6/24/11

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