This is it, Killer Delicious fans, the all time greatest Thanksgiving story ever told. It’s not about food, it’s not about cooking and you won’t walk into your kitchen inspired to try some new recipe. But you will laugh. And you will probably pass this story along to others who you know will appreciate it. Get ready to be entertained.
For a number of years during the 90’s, my family celebrated Thanksgiving with the Giordano family. Anthony Giordano and my father spent decades working for the same company. When the company closed its Northeast branch, our families relocated from New Jersey to Texas at the same time. And Alan and I had become very good friends with their son Paul. Paul Giordano is still one of my best friends to this day.
During the 90’s, Paul moved to Dallas and we lived about a mile from each other. One year, his parents decided to come to Dallas for Thanksgiving, so I invited my family to come up and we invited a third family who had also been part of the relocation crowd. All in all, between us, the Giordano’s and the Vanderbeek’s, we had about 20 people. We did this for four years and these are some of the most enjoyable Thanksgiving memories we all share.
These dinners took place at Paul’s house and the Giordano’s family holiday included a traditional Italian massive five course meal. There was an appetizer and cocktail hour, an antipasto course, a pasta course, the main dinner, a fruit and nut course and the finale of desserts, coffee and cordials. It was an all day event.
The year this incident took place, for some reason, my dad Herb was in rare form. Paul poured him a champagne cocktail as soon as we walked in the door and almost immediately, Herb got silly. He was walking from room to room trying to get people to pull his finger. He was pinching women and walking around with a ridiculous smirk on his face. And as the afternoon progressed, he got sillier and more tipsy. The dinner was amazing, as usual, with handmade manicotti, an 18 pound turkey and all sorts of imported cheeses and Italian delicacies.
As the dessert course rolled around, everyone was full and happy and had the true spirit of Thanksgiving warmth surrounding us. The pastries and pies were filling the table and Anthony Giordano poured everyone a cordial for one final Thanksgiving toast. It was a toast we would all remember for the rest of our lives.
Anthony stood at the head of the table and lifted his glass. He said a few words of gratitude and finished with the flourish “SALUTE!” As everyone’s cordial glasses approached their lips for that first sip, there was a moment of silence. My father, in his inebriated state, chose that moment to fill the silence with a very loud and omnipresent blast of flatus.
The world stopped as we all struggled to comprehend what had just happened. Everyone at the table froze with their cordial glasses touching their lips. My brother, sister and I burst into laughter, but the rest of the table was silently scowling at my father, who had a very satisfied look on his face. The Giordanos and the Vanderbeeks were mortified. My brother Alan, in an effort to chastise my old man and maybe save some face, through teary eyes and uncontrolled laughter, said “Dad, what the hell?”
My father’s response will forever live in infamy as the punchline to the greatest Thanksgiving story ever told. He said “Well, the man did say SALUTE.”
I can’t believe, after what has become known in our circle as “the toast”, that Paul continued to invite us for Thanksgiving dinner. But he did. And we had fun, although every year my dad got a lecture about breaking wind at the dinner table. Whenever Alan and I are called upon to tell a great family holiday story, this one is the crown jewel.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. May your turkey be moist, your potatoes fluffy, your gravy luxurious and your toast flatus free!!