Jeff D'Arcy, aka
Michael Incorvia, pictured cooking in his kitchen in Laguna Beach was a finalist in Maggiano's Little Italy Best Italian Chef contest. His recipe for duck and sausage lasagna came from his Sicilian uncle.
As Michael Incorvia (Jeff D'Arcy's middle name and Sicilian mother's maiden name) simmers fresh-made marinara sauce on his stove in Laguna Beach, he's transported back to his days with his large Sicilian family.
Eddy, a charming and gregarious rogue, took his lasagna very seriously.
Micheal entered a recipe he learned from Eddy – duck and sausage lasagna. He was a finalist in Magiannos Best Italian Chef contest, though his dish didn't win a spot on the
restaurant menu (yet).
The experience, however, made Michael realize that many who complimented his recipe were enticed not only by the dish, but also his family story.
As he was growing up in Long Beach, cooking was left to the men of the family,
especially on the holidays. As many as eight of his uncles would gather in the kitchen, elbowing for space to make their dishes. After Uncle Eddy served his lasagna each Christmas, the family would applaud, Michael said.
Michael and his cousins would
serve as "sous chefs," dicing, chopping and trying to learn the craft.
Eddy's lasagna wasnn't the typical American Italian dish of cottage cheese, pasta and red sauce. His lasagna contained duck, venison or goose.
"Sicilians are earthy people,"
Michael said. "It's the game that grazes in the pastures of Sicily– the lamb, goats, geese."
So many people commented on Michael's Maggiano's web page that they had similar upbringings. Michael got the idea of gatheingr the stories and recipes
of other Italians for his website and his upcoming cookbook, and is working on turning the story into a play to be called Uncle Eddy's Lasagna
People have started sending him their family histories along with favorite recipes, he said.
cookbook is just another cookbook," he said. "People enjoy a story."
Michael has traveled to Sicily and says it's the food is what truly connects him to his roots.
"I think food is the link that maintains your ethnic heritage," he said. "The
language might get assimilated along with other cultural norms, but the food ... ."
To learn more or send Michael your story, visit www.uncleeddyslasagna.com.
the writer: 949-492-5135 or firstname.lastname@example.org