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Neil Perry wants to be my nonna…

24 Oct

In my email inbox this morning, I found this review, or really preview, of Neil Perry’s latest restaurant, Rosetta at Crown Casino. It contained the line:

“[Neil] Perry is auditioning to be your new nonna”


My nonna (with my niece Isabella).

Neil Perry

Neil Perry on the cover of Good Weekend.

When I stopped laughing, I started thinking about what Neil Perry would actually have to do at his new Italian restaurant to be a serious contender for the role of my nonna.

To start, he would have to triple the size of the servings, nah quadruple. During the meal, he would have to add more food to my plate, without asking, and if I complain, he will say that I am too skinny and I need to eat. When I complain that there is too much food, he will need to bring up the war and the starving children in Africa.

He would need to ask me about my husband, if I have been cooking for him and when I am having children. Also, why haven’t I had children yet? He will not sit down and eat with me, he will be too busy getting the next course. Somehow, however, he will still have time to say that people don’t have as much respect as they used to, and that I better lock my doors properly. He will say “occhio vivo e smart”, which is nonna talk for be careful because the streets are full of murderers and thieves, at least three times.

Before the meal is over he will want to know when I am coming back and what I want to eat when I return. It goes without saying that he will not accept money for the food, and in fact, if he wants to be a real nonna he will slip me $100 and tell me to buy something special for myself. Then, even though he is 89, he will insist on washing all the dishes himself while I drink a coffee from the Moka stovetop espresso. Also, he will send me home with a week’s worth of sauce, a bunch of parsley and ten lemons from the garden, as well as a packet of coffee a comare gave him that he thinks I should have.

If, somehow, Neil Perry manages to pass the audition to become my nonna, there is one other issue – his hair. The ponytail would have to go, because nonnas don’t do ponytails, they do sets, blue rinses and finger waves. And I really can’t imagine Neil Perry going there… though if he wants to, my mum’s a hairdresser…