Recently, I took a little judiciously-issued grief over the fact that I presented a scene in which two Italian-Americans (lead characters in the current WIP) are seen eating together, at home, and the menu is spaghetti and meatballs. "Stereotype!" came the accusations, and of course, there’s no denying the stereotypicality of characters of such ethnicity consuming such a cliched dish. So I figured I’d take a shot a revising away from the evil edges of stereotype. Here’s a rewrite, "for your consideration."
“She did WHAT?” screeched Cookie.
“She sat on the edge of the desk and practically spread her legs. Honest to God, Cookie, I almost shit.”
Cookie lifted the steaming pot from the stove and moved quickly to the sink, where she drained it into a colander. “That little hussy,” she laughed. “She’s been after you since junior high, hasn’t she?”
“Miss Frawley’s class, actually,” smirked Sammy.
“When was that? Get the plates.”
“Fifth grade.” Sammy fetched dishes from the cupboard, and set them on the kitchen table. Cookie brought the steaming pot to the table. Sammy lifted the lid. "What’s this?" he asked, for inside the pot was not the spaghetti he expected but something entirely different.
"Gnocchi Florentine," said Cookie. "It’s delicious and very good for you."
"What am I, Popeye?"
"You wish," said Cookie. “Get the sauce, get the sauce, who died and left you king?” she said, pointing to the stove. Sammy looked uncertain, and lifted the lid of the sauce pan gingerly and peeked inside.
"Where’s the sauce?" he asked.
"Ya lookin’ at it, you’ve never seen pesto before? Sit. Eat,” Cookie said as she opened the breadbox and refrigerator, grabbing the hindquarters of yesterday’s loaf and a new stick of butter.
Sammy was staring at the little dumplings and the pale green so-called ‘sauce.’ He split one open to reveal a thimbleful of spinach, lying there daring him to eat it.
Cookie pulled her chair in and began building her own supper. "What?" she said.
"My Nonnie served pesto once," said Sammy.
"See, its good. Eat."
"She served it when Papa’s cousin brought his new fiance to dinner."
"Cousin Angelo. He brought Sheila Feldstein. Nonnie put the pesto on the table and Papa almost shit himself laughing."
"You gonna eat, or what?" said Cookie.
"I’m eating, I’m eating," said Sammy. He picked up a gnocco on his fork and swished it lightly in the pesto. As he chewed it he said, "Mm…yum." Cookie threw a piece of bread at him.
They ate together in silence for a few minutes. after two more forkfuls Cookie spoke.
“Honest to God, Sammy. There’s some spaghetti in the icebox from yesterday. So what did you find out from Gloria, besides the color of her underwear?”
One word from Sammy, “Red.”