In honor of my sister’s birthday (it is also Cobra’s birthday), I write about a conversation I had with her the other day, when upon returning home, I noticed that my apartment building smelled like the Bronx. It had been a long day, and I, famished and exhausted, decided to follow my strict diet of not having time for dinner. The problem was that the entirety of my apartment building smelled just like the hallway that leads from the elevator to the door of my paternal grandparents’ apartment in the Bronx. And that smells pretty good . . .
And it smells like eggplant parmasian, baked zitti, lasagna, and anything else that my grandmother has cooked up. My father is Italian American and his parents, Rose and Alfonso, are both the children of Italians who emigrated to New York City in the early 20th Century. Rose grew up in the Village and Al in Brookly, and they moved out to the country, The Bronx, when they were married.