Well, we finally caught up with Joe and Christina. Once Susan was out of the hospital on Boxing Day we were invited over for dinner last night, the 28th of December. And what a dinner it was! I wrote some time ago about being at Joe’s for “Polenta on the Board” and how much fun that was. Well, I thought it couldn’t get any better. I was wrong!

Christina is an amazing woman! Her house is always so immaculate.

Peter and Maria

Joe’s cousin Umberto with Barbara

The dinner guests. From the left, Susan, Barbara, Umberto, Joe, Christina, Peter and Maria. Sabrina joined us later and, of course, that’s me behind the camera.

I am a great fan of Polenta. It is one of those foods that soothes the soul as well as the tummy. It is warm and soft, and yes, I would even say cuddly. Real comfort food. The old traditional way to eat it is to simply spread it out on a board on the table with the family sitting around and dig in. It brings people together and creates a focus for an evening.

It is so simple to make: add corn meal to salted boiling water and cook. Once smooth and soft, add sauce and eat. Susan does rabbit in tomato sauce, I have made it with Italian sausage in tomato sauce. Susan’s mom used to make it with baccala (salted dried cod) and she says it was delicious. But this night, Christina and Joe went “where no man has gone before”! Watch.

Joe and Christina in the kitchen getting ready

Spread a rich tomato sauce over the top of it

Then add Sausages, Ribs and Lamb Chops

The polenta on the board ready for the sauce

Add fresh cheese

And bring it to the table

The dinner has arrived! There was general disbelief and rejoicing in the audience and there was to be heard many an “oohhh” and “aahhh”.

Poor Susan was unable to eat this wonderful meal. Her stomach problems and the medication she was on would not allow it. She had a nibble but that was it. The rest of us, on the other hand, ate with gusto. It was absolutely perfect! The meat was incredible, the polenta sweet, the wine delicious and the company absolutely excellent. What a great evening.

Here we are, ready for the feast! Sabrina has joined us. In the back is her mom, then Peter, Maria, Joe and Umberto. Susan and Barbara as sitting at the table. By this time the conversation was animated, the wine was flowing, and it was getting pretty noisy.