Holiday Greetings from Anthony Bourdain, Himself

By Karen

When I saw “BOURDAIN” printed in neat block letters on the thin FedEx envelope, I felt my eyeballs boing out of my head like some cartoon character.

Possessing my own little streak of snarky cynicism, my first thought was, “Oh great, a ‘cease and desist’ letter from his lawyer.” But inside I found an unmarked red envelope containing this:


Still suspicious of a practical joke, I studied it with a magnifying glass (and would have dusted for prints if I knew how). But after counting no less than 19 of his books on the shelf behind the Christmas tree, I concluded the card’s genuine. Nobody but the author himself keeps so many copies of his own books.

I asked Santa to bring me Typhoid Mary to round out my own Bourdain collection, but a Christmas greeting from Tony and Ottavia is beyond amazing. The thought that he or one of his peeps spent even a moment looking up my address gives me shivers — in a good way.

Now I can definitively answer the question readers have asked: Yes, Virginia, Anthony Bourdain is aware of Cats Working. I think he sent this greeting knowing I’d have to share it with you, and it’s his way of saying “Happy Holidays” to all of us.

Thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Bourdain, for giving us this charming glimpse of your lovely daughter Ariane, and for providing Cats Working with what I believe is a worldwide exclusive on Lupetto. Now even my cats are your fans.

‘Til Durham!

[A Christmas bonus: Faithful Cats Working reader Adele found the Washington, DC, episode of No Reservations (which hasn’t officially aired yet) under “News & World” on Comcast On Demand. It has limited commercials and is supposedly available until January 15, but watch it ASAP because it’s probably a mistake and the Travel Channel will yank it.]


38 Responses to Holiday Greetings from Anthony Bourdain, Himself

  1. Adele says:

    Very, very cool! The sauce is on for my lasagna, and I thought I’d take a break and check the internet. I can’t imagine how excited you must have been; I can’t stop grinning. I guess when you nicely took down some of the Philippine information about Tony, it got you some points with the Bourdain’s peeps, and now you’re on his Christmas card list. What an adorable little girl and a sweet little cat. Now it will be hard for you and your readers to snark out at Bourdain, even if it’s deserved, but Cats Working just went up an echelon or two in the blogosphere.

    BTW, I enjoyed the DC NR show quite a bit. I’ve been to DC several times, but this showed me a DC that I haven’t seen. Wouldn’t we all love to eat in one of Jose Andres’ restaurants?

  2. catsworking says:

    Adele, I have been having the same reaction. Every time I think about it, I can’t help smiling. I woke up at 1 a.m. last night thinking about it and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I fired up the scanner and wrote the post.

    I have no idea what it was that got his attention. Maybe he just idly Googled himself and Cats Working came up. But I take it as a tacit signal that he doesn’t hate whatever he’s read here. I do try to be fair.

    And as a writer, to know that Bourdain has actually read some of my work is so rewarding and motivating, I can’t even describe it.

    I watched the DC show the other night. I live about 2 hours from DC, and now I want to visit that Asian mall he went to in Fairfax or Falls Church. I’ve never heard of it.

    Hearing from him was truly a Christmas miracle and I am so grateful that he took the time to make it happen. What a gracious gesture and a class act!

    Yul is over the moon to learn that Tony chose a BLACK cat. He and Lupetto look like cousins.

  3. Bob says:

    WOW .. is all I have to say!!!

    I can just imagine you shaking as you opened the envelope and saw the Christmas Card.

    Maybe we could entice him to actually post here???? That would be a coup.
    Happy for you guys!!

    Merry Christmas indeed!!!

  4. catsworking says:

    Bob, I’ll remember the moment of opening that card like the moment I heard Kennedy had been shot — but in a good way.

    As soon as the mobs clear out of the stores, I’m buying a frame for that baby and hanging it on a nice little bit of wall above my computer desk that seems now like it’s always been waiting for it to arrive.

    I’m still blown away that Bourdain went to the trouble to send me a sign (of approval, it would appear) that he’s OK with Cats Working being his unofficial biographer. It was never my intention, but the research I’ve done has given me an even deeper appreciation of his work on a more personal level.

    Santa did bring me “Typhoid Mary,” which I’ll be reading soon.

  5. Bob says:

    Kinda figured that you must have been very excited to get that card.
    Judging from the autograph it does look like his scrawl.

    Happy New Year.. Enjoy Typhoid Mary its a good read and a good look into cooks of the age. The end is very sweet.


  6. Bob says:

    OK maybe its my OCD kicking in tonight but just plugged into the end of season BBQ episode. And Tony has his $3,000 Hawaiian shirt on.

    I just got a Hawaiian shirt from a sweety so I might be focused on that.

    Just a tidbit

    Night Kittys


  7. catsworking says:

    Bob, I was watching that episode myself. The pricey Hawaiian shirt was one surprise, although he was kind of shamed into it with that “Uh, oh, we read the price tag wrong” when he was standing at the register (although he could have yelled “Cut!” at any time and walked away). But his attitude at the luau was a first. He actually showed empathy for the American tourists he has been known to scoff at. I think his Hawaiin episode was one of the first times we saw that his second marriage was making him start to melt like butter on a hot sidewalk.

    PS: This show did influence me to buy a can of Spam and I put it in a cheesy pasta casserole. The Spam tasted like how I imagine dog food. I ended up picking out every piece and tossing it down the disposal. However, I did buy the low-sodium product, so maybe regular Spam is much tastier.

  8. Deb says:

    WOW, congratulations on the Bourdain card! I haven’t seen the new DC episode yet but am looking forward to it. I live in the DC suburbs. If it’s the Aisan mall in Falls Church, that would be Eden Center in Seven Corners. Parking is really crazy there so be careful if you go at weekend peak times.

  9. catsworking says:

    Yes, Deb, I think it was Eden Center. Thanks for the scoop on the parking. The reason I don’t go to Northern Va. more often (which is to say, almost never) is the gridlocked traffic.

  10. MorganLF says:

    I have been away for the holidays and just logged on while watching a Bourdain marathon on Travel Channel….. my hands are shaking. Do you realize this means he reads this?

    How did you not keel over? I mean all the shit we write about this dude. All the deep probing and surmising, thank god he’s cool with it …well at lest he didn’t send you a dead fish.

    I’m wondering what his Nome de plume is, he HAS to have posted here!

    I am hyperventilating. Bourdain, that was me standing in the wings at the demo in the restaurant in Caesars’ Atlantic City when that old douche started yelling and interrupted your talk. You turned and looked at the commotion. I was the tall redhead evil eyeing the guy. Because of that we got rousted by security, but in my high dudgeon I stomped off to the head of security, demanded satisfaction, and was soon back at my post.

    Man I have heart-burn now, Karen this rules!!! I have to go lie down.

  11. catsworking says:

    Morgan, welcome back! I was wondering what had happened to you because after I posted this, I figured there was no way you would have let it pass without comment.

    Yes, I was shocked, SHOCKED, to get his card, sent by FedEx no less. I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face for days.

    And I did go through a mental inventory of all I’ve said about him. My conscience came up clean (particularly on the Philippine incident). If it had all been fawning praise, he’d have probably found me contemptible. But I think on the whole we’ve been pretty balanced in our curiosity and criticism. It’s not like anyone’s been digging through his trash. I haven’t posted anything that anyone else couldn’t have found for themselves with a little Internet research.

    It took me a while to come to the realization that a Christmas greeting was his way of conveying that he’s OK with it. Even giving me the scoop of a photo and the name of his CAT.

    What really gave me the shakes was the thought that Bourdain’s eyeballs have perused my writing. I guess he didn’t think I suck, and that’s very gratifying.

    I don’t think he’s posted here, even under a nom de plume, because I can’t recall any comment sounding like his style. Sure, he could dumb himself down to remain undetected, but somehow I don’t think he’s be able to keep his light under a bushel barrel.

    The one who’s got me worried in all this is Ottavia. Although my initial reaction to her was shock, I’ve come to appreciate the positive influence she’s been on Bourdain. Even so, with all her martial arts training, I wouldn’t want to run into her in a dark alley. 😉

  12. MorganLF says:

    I’m still woozy.

    I have spent the afternoon reading my posts trying to see if I was a pontificating ahole..well sometimes yes, but I always stay true to my absolute admiration of the guy. Remember when I called him a big douchey stork on his blog and told him to man up after the new show format fiasco? Do you think he could be Antoinette- who posted on the blog as having worked with Tony?

    You realize you now MUST meet him up close. Just the fact that the card was Fed X’d in time for Xmas to your HOUSE amazes me, gotta admit he has class.

    I am in quite a lather , but the impish in me caused me to post a comment on his Facebook page in the Laos album under the pic of him riding a giant elephant (you can just guess what it was). Yes, I joined Facebook just so I could check out more on our boy. Here is the link:

  13. catsworking says:

    So THAT’S why there’s been a sudden spike in hits today! 😉

    Seriously. Cats Working usually averages 500-1,000 hits a day. Right now we’re at 2,600+, and most of the activity is on Bourdain’s wives, with Nancy edging out Ottavia, which doesn’t happen often.

    I think if there’s been any “dirt” thrown here, it’s been by young chicks giving us more mature types hell for being initially stunned by Ottavia’s age. On the whole, people who comment here are thoughtful fans.

    Wouldn’t it be funny if he WERE writing as Antionette?

    I’m pondering my next step at this point. Receiving the FedEx did provide some information that would enable me to contact him (which I verified and also took as a sign that he trusts me and my discretion). I’m wondering if he might be willing to give an interview to Cats Working. In real life, I AM a professional writer and occasional journalist, so it’s not such a stretch.

    I wasn’t able to follow that Facebook link. Guess I have to join. I’ve deliberately NOT made myself a presence elsewhere (except for a supportive comment on his blog after that “Around the Table” fiasco) because the last thing I want him to think is that I’m a cyberstalker.

  14. MorganLF says:

    Yeah I actually did 2 posts . On the other I told him he was a class act for sending the card to Catsworking, wow pretty powerful.

    i hear you about stalking, but his website invites us to become Facebook friends there are way over 80K.

    Look Ottavia has to be fairly cool too as we have sliced and diced her but we are always fair and spare no-one, even ourselves.

    That he trusts you is a high honor and if you get an interview……

    Forgive me I just zoned out at the thought of an up close and personal………..

    Whew back again. Its all too much, I need to lay down again.

  15. catsworking says:

    Morgan, thanks for vicariously thanking him for me. 🙂

    I must admit the thought of meeting him face to face makes me wobbly, if only as a still-struggling, minimally successful writer to one who has achieved his dream.

    Until all this stuff started on the blog, I was like any other casual fan, although I did turn voracious about reading his books once I got a taste of his writing.

    But since the readers of Cats Working started me down this unofficial biographer path and made me tune into him on a more personal level, I feel almost as if I know the man. I’ve certainly thought and written more about him than many “real” men I’ve known in my life!

    My father theorized that when Bourdain was doing Christmas cards, he probably just signed a bunch and had his peeps mail them. My father doesn’t fully understand the situation.

    When I saw Ariane and Lupetto spelled out so clearly and carefully, I knew that card was directed at ME, and he was sending me a sign. And the fact that he FedExed it on 12/22 to ensure it arrived by Christmas was another sign.

    I was blown away that, in all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, he even thought to look up my address and do that. It seemed to reveal a personally thoughtful and kind side of him that we’ve only had peeks at.

    If anything, he’s shown me that if the content of Cats Working had to get hijacked to earn a place on the blogosphere map, he was a worthy choice.

  16. Adele says:

    Morgan, so glad to see your posts. I figured you must be away for the holidays, because I just knew you’d have the same vicarious thrill about the Christmas card that I did.

    I must say that I just read almost all of the posts on “Ottavia Bourdain Found,” and some of them were pretty harsh, but the true Bourdain admirerers kept coming back to not only his attractiveness, but his smarts and writing style. He should be more flattered than anything. There was a hilarious series about breasts and their reduction that made me laugh very hard. (I just received a card for my birhtday of a woman with large, pendulous breasts; it says something like”At your age, you can still work it, but mostly they work themselves;” there’s a little crank which can be turned, causing the mammaries to sway, and a cat is standing next to the woman, batting at them.) And Karen, you managed to keep the discourse fairly civil.

    Here’s a thought for getting a second or two with Tony, when you see him in Durham, Karen. I got my favorite childhood book on Ebay as a gift for Ariane, when I heard Tony was coming to Chicago, last year. I never went, and I still have the book (Gaston and Josephine, a Little Golden Book about 2 French piggies, who travel to the US and have adventures — I’m sure it’s the basis for my Francophilia). I could send it to you, and you could give it to him, for Ariane.

    BTW, in either the Nasty Bits or Kitchen Confidential, Tony recommends George Orwell’s Down and Out in Paris and London as a good book to read about what goes on in fancy kitchens. Interestingly, my college English History professor spoke highly of the book as well. 35+ years after college, I just bought Down and Out, and I’m finding it a very good read; in its way, it has a lot to say about poverty and class and is very atmospheric. I think it’s a tiny window, as well, into the development of young Tony’s writing style.

  17. catsworking says:

    Among the numerous comments that came on that first post about finding Ottavia, I did let through virtually all of the nasty ones because they were mostly directed at me and some readers of my generation. I did because I don’t want this blog to ever become too fawning. We’re not teenagers anymore.

    Adele, I didn’t shell out $100 to attend the exclusive book-signing in Durham, so I doubt I’ll get any face time with Bourdain unless I happen to run into him coming out of the men’s room or something. However, I’m sure he would appreciate a pork-centric book for Ariane.

    Let’s chat via e-mail on the best way to get it to him.

    By the way, Bourdain and Orwell share the same birthday – June 25.

  18. Bob says:

    I kinda hate to burst your bubble on the facebook thing Morgan.. But I highly doubt that the site is his…

    I think rather it’s an invention of the show. In interviews when asked if he has a facebook page or Myspace page Tony has always flatly denied it. Not to say that he doesn’t check them out from time to time.


    PS I added you on facebook, Lets see what kind of Bourdain centric mayhem we can get into 🙂

  19. MorganLF says:

    Hi Adele and you are right- it is a vicarious thrill! I believe Karen is correct in her assumption that he KNEW she’d post it and it was in his way an affirmation of her thorough and even handed approach and of our posts expressing admiration of his work, intellect, acid humor, height and well let’s face it…hotness.

    I am absolutely positive it was sent by him to Karen specifically. Not sent by a minion. I did a side by side of the signature from one found on-line and it’s DEAD ON, the sample had the block printing too,( Karen I emailed you a copy).

    I’ve been thinking it’s weird that I found this blog. Where I work we are restricted from most sites, some douche in IT figured it would improve efficiency to block us from private email, networking and even news for crissakes! Yet somehow I can get to Catsworking…mistake or part of a grand design? I can’t get to CNN or the Times but I can post on this site and he reads it..F’ing A that rules!!!!!

  20. MorganLF says:


    Yeah for sure its not his page its a Travel Channel thing. But he is really blog centric (over 700 posts on e-gullet) He may check it out. I created my page just to see what info they send and I rarely check it out, but we’ll see. I do not use social networks and just recently added a few family and friends. I’ll check out your page.

  21. catsworking says:

    Morgan, the cats are sniggering slyly at hearing we’ve managed to elude your company’s filters. I think they have something to do with it. 😉

    Thanks for sending that autograph. Now you’ve forced me to confess that I dabbled in handwriting analysis as a teenager. After my father scoffed that Bourdain himself would take the trouble, I began to question it myself. At the risk of sounding like an obsessive groupie, I’ll admit I studied the FedEx slip closely and compared the handwriting to the card.

    The card itself, as you confirmed, Morgan, is undoubtedly his work. It was when I saw his CAT’S name so carefully spelled out that I knew it was from him to me. Also, the cat’s name sounds Italian and seems to negate my theory that Ottavia is a cat-hater.

    But the FexEx slip is trickier. Did he look up my address himself? I’m easy to locate online because my address used to be in the phone book.

    Although the card and FedEx slip are both block-printed, the handwriting doesn’t seem to match. For example, in my name and address, there’s no upsweep on the lower stroke of the L’s (which he also does on the top bar of T’s). The tops of the A’s are rounded in every instance but VA. The E’s are rounded like the euro symbol, where on the card they’re square. The R’s are more open. My area code is one digit off, and there’s a letter missing from my street address.

    So, maybe in a hurry he made a few little mistakes. Or some underling did his research and misprinted.

    There’s some blog out there whose name escapes me that looks like it comes from Bourdain but doesn’t. I daresay his only online activity is his Travel Channel blog and contributions to others. He doesn’t need Facebook to feel popular. I agree that somebody else set it up to make a 50-something guy appeal to that crowd.

    But I don’t think he’s above Googling himself to check the buzz, and that’s how he found Cats Working.

  22. MorganLF says:

    So yesterday was another Bourdain marathon of sorts on the TC. As I was making my Sunday gravy, with meatballs and bracciole (in the North East we call it red-gravy if its made with meat, “tomato sauce” if its not and its a big debate who calls it what, Adela I note you used “sauce”)

    In the background I had the show on, anyway the Rajistan episode came on and it bears re-watching. Not just for the fact that he had on a suit and man can that cat wear clothes! Divine? not descriptive enough.

    The year of the episode was 2005, which as we all here know is a watershed year in his life (its when he and Nancy split and he spent time with, ugggh, the Froelich woman).
    In the episode he meets up with a Swami who does his chart via computer and (this part is prophetic), the guru touches on his sex life and he either stated Tony is too animalistic or not enough in the pans to his face and Tony seems to be genuinely squirming and retorts with “who have you been talking too?” I wish I remember exactly what the guru said …either way it was not an accolade as the dude then goes on to explain Tony has issues with relationships ( I’m paraphrasing) but states his health is ok and money comes and goes but for the next 3 years he will be in the money.

    Then Tony in voice over said oh great I can look forward to some opportunistic skeezer to spend time with me in my old age, well at least I’ll have money”.

    The above is not verbatim but that is the jist and utterly silly as he never looked more bad-boy hottie, than when he was in the throes of separation. The camera on his face was almost embarrassingly revealing…he looked, vulnerable wonder how he let that get through?

    Anyway “opportunistic skeezer” was definitely his comment and we all know the outcome of the ensuing years…I’m just sayin……

  23. catsworking says:

    I remember that episode! I’ll have to go back and watch it again to see if hindsight really IS 20/20.

    In the meantime, we have a new episode Monday night.

  24. Nancy (not THAT Nancy) says:

    Wow…I have not been here for a few weeks and came back to find this…Karen, you must have shat twinkies when that arrived on your doorstep. I know exactly the feeling, I’m sure that you worried it was a C&D from the lawyer. And what a wonderful surprise.

    As much criticism as I directed toward him in other threads, it’s just because I have had such a love/disdain (not hate) relationship with Bourdain over the years. He’s exactly the kind of guy I was attracted to like a moth to flame in my 20s and 30s, the kind whose overindulgent manchild behavior would ultimately have disappointed and hurt me in the long run. But boring monogamous Bourdain would not really the be Bourdain we enjoy, so I’m glad he’s being the perpetual adolescent we can enjoy vicariously on NR and Top Chef. I love his writing and his sense of humor. He’d be a lot of fun to know as a friend, though I don’t think I’d want to be his girlfriend or wife. I hope he’s read some of the comments here and will dial back his expanding head a bit. I do wish the best for him and his family and hope his new-found sense of responsibility won’t affect his ability to entertain us with his humor and intellectual curiosity about the world, its people, and local cuisine.

    This is a fun blog, Karen, thanks for hosting it and keeping it lively.

  25. catsworking says:

    Hi, Nancy. Welcome back! And thanks for the kind words about Cats Working.

    What I like most about the readers of the Bourdain posts is that, for the most part, you are mature and usually fair. As a counterpoint to highlight that, I even post the comments from sweet young things with Daddy fantasies who call us a bunch of bitter old women with no lives who need to get laid.

    Sure, we may have some negative opinions now and then, but I hope what comes through is a genuine bottom-line admiration for Bourdain as a TV personality and a writer that should warm his cockles. I want Cats Working to be a place he can check to find some REAL buzz on his activities. On his own blog, the comments are often too fawning or self-serving. But being out here in Third-Party-Land, we can call ’em like we see ’em.

    Nancy, I’m with you on the destructive nature of a relationship with a bad-boy type like Tony. Been there, done that myself. Unfortunately, even though I’m older and wiser, if someone like him came along today, I’d probably STILL fall for him.

  26. Nancy (not THAT Nancy) says:

    You are really fair too, and that’s one of the things I like about this blog. The posts about us being bitter oldsters who need to get laid are pretty funny, I’m sure age will cure that misinterpretation. I can’t say I might not have assumed the same thing when I was younger, though.

    Bad boy types…sigh. A very attractive ne’er do well musician acquaintance with a full head of hair in his mid 50s showed up on my doorstep a few weeks ago and now is renting one of my properties…and is worming his way into my heart. So I guess I’m not still invulnerable to bad boys either, but how nice that he’s attracted to this one-year-younger woman whom he has tons in common with instead of someone half his age without anything in common but sexual attraction. Ah well, I guess I will never learn. If Bourdain showed up instead, I guess I would not have run the other way either, truth be told. Sigh.

  27. Bob says:

    Bad Boy for the having up In Canada. Come Get ME!!! If you’re nice I will let you have the seal eyeball and all the Maple Syrup and Poutine you can eat. 🙂

  28. Adele says:

    Nancy — “shat twinkies.” I’ve never heard that before, but trust me, when the appropriate occasion arises, I’ll use it. And Morgan, I think gravy, referring to sauce with meat is more an Eastern thing, although a few of my Chicago Italian friends do call it gravy. Of course one of my best friends is from Tuscany, and she calls any sauce with meat a ragu.

    Re: the attraction of the bad boy. I’m so old now, that I doubt that any more will pass my threshold, but I don’t think one ever gets over it. As I look back on my checkered past, 2 of the 3 great loves of my life would fit the description — smart, poetic, musical, cocky, and in the long term, emotionally unavailable. Seems like Bourdain fills that niche vicariously for a lot of women.

    And Bob, speaking of bad boys, I thought you had a sweetie — what’s with the cyber flirting?

  29. catsworking says:

    Good luck with your new tenant, Nancy. Sounds promising, and maybe he’s ready to be tamed, like Tony was.

    Hope springs eternal, doesn’t it? 😉

    This summer I let myself get mixed up with a Bourdain type: tall, thin, full head of graying hair, even a confirmed world “travelholic.” After about 2 months, he dumped me ON A POSTCARD while he was visiting England. He followed that up recently with a Christmas card with the cheery greeting, “You wanted a relationship; I didn’t.” Apparently, he forgot that HE chased me all over the QM2 to get my attention in the first place, and then later phoned me from mid-ocean to reinforce the sincerity of his intentions. Stupid jerk.

    OK, Bob, your offer of the seal eyeball and poutine is very tempting, but you’ve already told us you have a new girlfriend. If your situation changes, get back in touch and we’ll talk. 🙂

  30. catsworking says:

    Yes, Adele, the image of me depositing a pile of Twinkies on my kitchen floor is one I’m having a hard time erasing from my mind, although I’m sure the cats would be amused. Nothing like batting a spongy, yet indestructible, pastry product under the fridge!

    Now, entering the gravy/sauce debate:

    I grew up in Massachusetts around 100% Italians on my mother’s side (from Sicily, way back when), and nobody ever called it anything but “sauce.” It was ALWAYS tomato-based (I don’t hail from great or imaginative cooks — my grandmother’s famous chicken soup was a tribute to bland). The sauce contained meatballs or sausage or other bits of leftover pork — never poultry. The first time I heard it referred to as “gravy” was on “The Sopranos.”

    To me, gravy is brown stuff, and you put it on meat, not pasta.

  31. MorganLF says:

    You ‘merigans! (slur meaning non-authentic Italians) Jesey Italians call it gravy. Like the Sopranos. Websters defines amy “sauce” made with meat as gravy. But this is a fearsome argument and the debate rages on!

    I never really liked the true bad boys, they could walk like one, talk like one, but they had better pick up the check! But am a sucker for a tall-guy with a great head of hair and a snappy patois…

  32. Bob says:

    Busted… But how could I not throw my two cents in to you fawning chicks.
    Actually The Sweety and I went to go see Clint Eastwoods new movie Gran Tursimo last night. Excellent film..

    Tony helped with that too, His travels to the highlands of Vietnam gave me some background on the Hill People.

    Keep Dreaming Ladies. 🙂


  33. Bob says:

    Opps … Check that… Just waking up. The Name of the Movie is Gran Torino.

    If He doesn’t get an oscar nod there is something very wrong.

  34. catsworking says:

    Bob, since there’s such a dearth of eligible bachelors down here in the lower 48, rest assured that the ladies reading Cats Working will keep you in mind should you ever become available. 😉

  35. catsworking says:

    It’s interesting that none of the makers of this controversial red substance refer to it as “gravy” either. Ragu, Classico, Paul Newman’s. It’s all pasta “sauce” them, too.

    But I wonder if the same product in Italy (if selling it pre-made in cans and jars isn’t prohibited by law) is called “gravy?”

    Or could it be that newly-arrived Italians who wanted to assimilate started calling it “gravy” because they thought it sounded classier and more American?

    Hmmm… I think we’ve created another great mystery for the ages.

    And while we’re at it, what do you think of pasta being referred to as “noodles?” To me there’s another world of difference between the two, and I would never call spaghetti “noodles” or Ramen “pasta.”

    For me, “noodles and gravy” brings to mind a vastly different dish than “spaghetti with sauce.”

  36. MorganLF says:

    Ragu=stew, and for the reasons stated sauce flavored w/meat=gravy.
    A plain chunky tomato & basil sauce is just that “sauce”. As for that stuff in jars who cares what they call it? It is an abomination and bears no resemblance to anything even remotely Italian.

    Pasta…what the hell is PASTA??? We called is macciaroni or macaroni in local parlance it was Sunday macs & gravy . Pasta is some douchy 80’s abberation. I get nuts when some pasty faced ‘merigan profers me tri-clor fusilli mixed with shredded cheese, gnarly meats, and veggies and foul of all foulness mayo and calls it “pasta salad’ GRRR..I’d rather eat goats eyes!

  37. catsworking says:

    I’ll concede that the stuff in jars is little more than chunky ketchup, and I’m ashamed to confess that I have several in my pantry right now. Making sauce for one just doesn’t seem worth the effort unless I’m really in a cheffy mood.

    You know, Morgan, now that you said it, we DID used to call it “macaroni.” I didn’t pick up that word “pasta” until I moved South, and it probably would have been around in the ’80s. And it’s down here that I hear Italian food called “noodles.”

    Growing up, I don’t remember eating a lot of spaghetti. It was all shells and something that was like penne, but bigger. Is that rigatoni? I’ve strayed so far from my roots, I can’t remember…

    But down here in the grocery stores, those little containers of cold elbow macaroni with celery and mayo are called “macaroni salad,” not pasta salad.

    And then there’s one of Tony’s favorite snacks, that orange delight called Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (with lots of pepper).

  38. Bob says:

    I want to move to Puebla now…. the food looked so good.
    Its not freaking -30 degrees.

    Its a dry cold though….. Ha Manitoba Humor.

    On the side got a deep fryer for Christmas, Learning to be a student of the Fryolated arts.

    Tee hee hee

    And Don’t Forget Tony’s love of Capt’n Crunch… Nothing beats a bloody breakfast treat.
    Funny thing here in Canada, land of Sane Healthcare. The Mac and Cheese is called Kraft Dinner and is often termed “The Yellow Death” by University Students.

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