Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day!

Does anybody remember those ads from the 1970’s where the little Italian boy hears his mom yelling that dinner is ready and so he runs through the streets of an old-world city to go home and have his spaghetti? Well, those commercials were films (and Prince Spaghetti used to be made) in the North End of Boston.

I think I’ve been writing about the North End a lot lately – but because we live on it’s edge now, it’s my new neighborhood. Yesterday I got home from work and decided to be creative and make a home-cooked meal. I left Matt and Dusty to play while I walked down the street. First, I went into the fruit store that I had to duck to get into because the door is only about 5-feet high and the store is in the basement. It’s a bare-bones shop with fruit in their crates and no cash register. Just an Italian man who weighs the fruit and tells you the price. He then has a bucket of change where he digs out the right amount. He only spoke Italian.

Then I went around the corner to the butcher shop….a real old-fashioned butcher shop with hanging meat in back. There were two customers before me and two butchers – all speaking Italian. They were getting some sort of sausages that were hanging from the ceiling by strings. The butcher would wield his huge knife across the string and the sausages would drop onto the white wax paper you see in old movies. Both customers left after saying “Ciao.”

I ordered my boneless chicken breasts (wrapped in white paper – I love that…I felt like I was Alice on the Brady Bunch visiting Sam the butcher) and crossed the street to Bova Bakery – open 24 hours and everything baked on site. I got some dessert then heading home to massacre my dinner (I’m not a good cook – even with fresh ingredients).

I loved it. No chain stores. No huge lines. No screaming white-trash babies with parents in flip-flops reading “The Enquirer”. No car needed. It felt so urban and so right. All of life’s conveniences nearby and in shops that specialize in their products. And although I didn’t know anybody, it’s so nice to see other people running into each other on the street, having conversations and enjoying the weather.

I’m so glad to be living in the city again.

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