So many people are dying from the Black Plague that brigades of “Dead Collectors” patrol the streets carrying off dead bodies. In this hilarious scene, one of the bodies brought out isn’t dead.
Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead!
[A large man appears with a (seemingly) dead man over his shoulder]
Large Man: Here's one.
Dead Collector: Nine pence.
"Dead" Man: I'm not dead.
Dead Collector: What?
Large Man: Nothing. [hands the collector his money] There's your nine pence.
"Dead" Man: I'm not dead!
Dead Collector: 'Ere, he says he's not dead.
Large Man: Yes he is.
"Dead" Man: I'm not.
Dead Collector: He isn't.
Large Man: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
"Dead" Man: I'm getting better.
Large Man: No you're not, you'll be stone dead in a moment.
Dead Collector: Well, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
"Dead" Man: I don't want to go on the cart.
Large Man:' Oh, don't be such a baby.
Dead Collector: I can't take him.
"Dead" Man: I feel fine.
Large Man with Dead Body: Oh, do me a favor.
Dead Collector: I can't.
Large Man: Well, can you hang around for a couple of minutes? He won't be long.
The scene ends when the large man clubs the ‘dead’ man and does him in, settling the argument.
Pertinent to us because we’ve been posting now for several days on the recipe and cultural phenomenon known as “The Gravy.”
In this posting, “Sunday Morning Coming Down, 4. The Aftermath,” we present “The Gravy,” alive and well after its first seventy-five years as an Italo food phenomenon, and “It ain’t dead yet.”
Today is Thursday, June 14, 2018
Good morning, my friends.
This is my sixty-eighth consecutive daily posting.
It is 5.26am
And a lovely summer day in store for Boston.
On TV: “Time Bandits,” a 1981 British fantasy film co-written, produced, and directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Sean Connery, John Cleese, Shelley Duvall, Ralph Richardson, Katherine Helmond, Ian Holm, Michael Palin, Peter Vaughn, and David Warner.
Gilliam has referred to Time Bandits as the first in his "Trilogy of Imagination", followed by Brazil (1985) and ending with The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988).
All are about the "craziness of our awkwardly ordered society and the desire to escape it through whatever means possible."
All three films focus on these struggles and attempts to escape them through imagination: Time Bandits through the eyes of a child, Brazil through the eyes of a man in his thirties, and Munchausen through the eyes of an elderly man.
As usual: thank you, Wikipedia.
I’m at my desk.
Dinner is Chicken Cacciatore, a second go round.
My condolences on your loss, Dom.
A truly heart rending way to start off your blog. And a cute prayer in your post (I love this North End stories). Still, I felt the sadness you conveyed at the start.
Web Meister Responds: thank you, marc
Sunday Morning Coming Down 4. The Aftermath
Because Sunday dinner was so costly and time consuming, many Boston-North End mothers often served the remainder of Sunday’s repast as another meal during the week.
My mother, however, to keep to our food budget, served what was left of Sunday’s dinner not once, but twice more during the week.
On Tuesdays, the gravy was a little thicker for being kept hot for too long; and the meat selection was a lot thinner.
Knowing what was coming, we were not overly enthusiastic.
Besides, we had eaten “The Gravy” just the day before yesterday.
“The Gravy, Second Go-Round” lacked the cachet of “The Gravy,” fresh-made on Sunday.
But it was at least acceptable.
But on Thursdays, the paltry remainder of “The Gravy” had the concentration of tomato paste, thick and unattractive, and the small, occasional bit of meat somehow getting by the Tuesday scavengers not satisfactory by any measure.
Often my mother cooked raw eggs in “The Third-Time Around Gravy” to supplement the meat bits, and added a bit of water to stretch the thick.
We ate it.
Having no other food in the house, we ate it.
But this meal was a curse.
So that’s the skinny on The Gravy as we enjoyed it growing up, 1950s-1960s, the first twenty-five years.
But it’s importance did not end with our childhood.
The Gravy, the second quarter-century permutation.
At ages 19 and 21, Toni-Lee and I married and started our own family.
Our eating style gravitated to predominantly classical French cooking and The Gravy was not part of our meal-planning.
It did, however, resurface as part of every holiday meal.
From the start of our married life, we hosted all holiday celebrations, a position we occupied for the full twenty-five years of our marriage.
Our holiday meals quickly evolved into brilliant events that, in my experience, stand as models for all great family gatherings.
That a different story, however.
The Gravy and holidays.
Toni-Lee’s meals were far more ambitious than my mom’s, and our holiday meal stretched from noon until 9.00pm.
For the menu, she drew on the rich resources at hand.
From her hunting brother Mark came the meat course, a Canada goose, venison, and the like.
From her mother and sister Fran, an abundance of pies and vegetable casseroles.
He brother Kurt supplied Godiva chocolates.
And from my mother, of course, The Gravy.
My mom as proud to contribute as Toni delighted to ask.
The Gravy was as honored for the quarter century it fed my mom’s grandchildren as it was for the quarter century my mother spent raising her own family.
And then the third quarter-century permutation.
My daughter Kat and I living alone.
She with a penchant for inviting friends over by the half-dozen, usually with scant notice.
God bless my tub of The Gravy.
“Line up kids,” they lining up, plates in hand, while we served army style.
Seventy-five years of importance.
And the future?
Today Kat announced she wants to learn to cook.
To paraphrase Monty Python’s portrayal of the Black Plague, “It ain’t dead yet.”
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