This article was originally published on Oct. 24, 2016. Anthony Bourdain wrote this personal note to accompany his classic recipe for a TODAY Show segment. He passed away on June 8, 2018.
I was always bitter that I wasn't Italian-American. You know that scene in "Saturday Night Fever" where Tony Manero is eating with his family? All the yelling and the smacking? That looked good to me.
We were discouraged from talking with our hands at my childhood dinner table.
Voices were supposed to be maintained at a reasonable level and used for civil discourse only. Definitely no smacking. Mopping sauce with bread — getting too physically involved with our food at all — was something my mom was unlikely to approve of.
So, this Italo-American Jersey classic — a riff on the Napolitano strategy for (a) turning a bunch of bony, low-quality off cuts of meat into something delicious, and (b) stretching one thing into two courses — is a realization of all my childhood yearnings.
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