I met my dear friend Carmine in 1989, when he was a ski instructor at Mt Snow, Vermont and I was a weekender obsessed with getting in as many ski days as the season (and my work schedule) would allow. We met on snow, but bonded on food and all-things-Italian.
Our family stories had similar flavor and color: laughing, screaming, HUGE holiday feasts, home-made everything... except Carmine's family Made The Tomatoes.
Sure... my grandmother made our pasta every Thursday on her "chittara," my Uncle Armand baked the bread and pizza shells, and durng the holiday season, our tiny kitchen yielded enough cookies and cakes to make Lil' Debbie ready to take up knitting.
But No Tomatoes.
From the first time Carmine told me about this event (and trust me... it's an event) I knew I had to be a part of it.
The day started before 8:00am with seven bushels of organic tomatoes--and ended ten hours later with dozens of jars of what is objectively the most equisite tomato puree on the planet.
In between, under the watchful eye of Giovanna (she does not miss a single trick), we washed, rubbed, rinsed, quartered, heated, stirred, pureed, and jarred.
At the same time, we were served so much amazing food, home made wine, and espresso (thanks to Lucy and Michael) that I was literally full to the point of potential explosion.
It's days like this that make me smile blissfully... grateful for the incredible friends and family that make my world a little more delicious.